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.

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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