SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California already relies on inmate firefighters to battle wildfires statewide. Now, the Legislature may look to convicted criminals to work as firefighters when they’re released.

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Assembly Bill 1211 would allow convicts to join the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship program. Currently, that program recruits candidates from underrepresented groups.

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Approximately 3,700 inmates work at fire camps as part of the Conservation Camp Program, with 2,600 of those being fire-line qualified. In order to become a part of the program inmates need to be considered “minimum custody” and demonstrate good behavior. However, once released, many are denied spots in fire departments due to their criminal history.

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