BY KIM ST. ONGE
ANCHOR LAUREN GORES
You're watching multisource U.S. news analysis from Newsy.
Inmates in Georgia could soon be turning in their jumpsuits for firefighter uniforms. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz gives you the background.
“Authorities in Camden County Georgia say they can save more than $500,000 a year by using prison inmates to fight fires. The plan would use convicted criminals from another county where a similar program has been up and running for two years now.”
But, some would rather see the new money saving proposal burn. A spokesperson for the National Association of Firefighters told ABC, letting inmates fight fires will only lead to bigger problems.
“Now you’re going to be bringing people that have been before judges, convicted of crimes, and all it takes is for someone to say, ‘Oh I’m missing something out of my house and the only other people here were firefighters.’ They’re not going to differentiate between prisoner and firefighter, and the distrust in community, it’s just not a good equation.”
Authorities say Inmates convicted of only low level and nonviolent crimes would be eligible for the job.A Camden County Commissioner told The Florida Times Union inmates have a hard-working reputation.
“I’ve been told these inmates are very enthusiastic about being a firefighter... It’s an opportunity to break that cycle. This is not like a chain gang. Life at a fire station could be a whole lot more pleasant than life in jail.”
The inmates would be supervised by a certified firefighter and monitored by a surveillance system. A writer for Gawker points out the ideahas spread to other states.
“In California, another broke state with a thriving prison-industrial complex, ‘there are more than 4,000 firefighting inmates stationed at 45 camps throughout the state.’ Although they mostly help with wildfires and huge emergency things like that — not your daily cat-in-the-tree stuff, except to sell drugs to the cats.”
On top of committing only low level crimes, inmates would need to be in good standing pass an interview, and would not be allowedoutside visitors or cell phones. The pay? It’s strictly volunteer, but inmates could apply for a firefighting job five years after their conviction date instead of waiting 10.
Transcript by Newsy
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It's amazing what you can make when you put your mind to it. Imagine what these guys could do if they weren't so screwed up.
those people rocks big family lol
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