"Behind the scenes of California’s raging climate-fueled wildfires with the hidden men and women on the front lines of the state’s ever-growing fire season: prisoner firefighters. Of the 13,000 firefighters battling blazes across the state, more than 2,500 are prisoners. While salaried firefighters earn an annual mean wage of $74,000 a year plus benefits, prisoners earn $1 per hour when fighting active fires. According to some estimates, California saves up to $100 million a year by using prison labor to fight its biggest environmental problem." - Democracy Now!
Low security prisoners in California have been working as firefighters to help battle the California wildfires for years. They earn just 1$ an hour, and for every one day they work, they get two days off of their sentence. And although they work shoulder-to-shoulder alongside the 'real' firefighters, they are not able to work as firefighters when they get out of prison. This is because there are laws in place, which do not allow felons to get the licensing to become a firefighter.
Do you think this is fair? Should prisoners who have been working as firefighters be able to use the firefighting skills they have learned as a prisoner to be able to better-transition to society and work as a firefighter when they get out of prison? Do you think they should get paid more while they are in prison? Do you think they should get more time off their sentence for working as a prisoner firefighter? Do you think felons should be able to vote?