Georgia Cost-Saving Plan Adds Inmates to Firehouse Staffing

ST MARYS, Ga. (AP) — Officials in southeast Georgia are considering a money-saving program that would put inmates in fire stations. The Florida Times-Union reports ( that the program would put two inmates in each of three existing firehouses in Camden County.



Times are tough and many departments, career and volunteer, are having a hard time maintaining even minimum staffing. Is this Georgia plan even worth the risk when considering public image and public relations?

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Hey Brian are you working for the state?  Sounds like you may be getting a little kick back for coming on here and siding with all this BS.  Just wondering.


This is NOT at all what hitler did to the jews, solution.

What this IS is an attempt to replace paid FF positions with unpaid,

felon laborers. 

I'm sure that the communities that are presently using/participating in this program are VERY happy, since it costs them nothing out-of-pocket.  At that level, who WOULDN'T want inmate firefighters/fire departments?  Moreover, who would want PAID FF's when you can get the cow AND milk for free?

Brian, You continue to try to sell this Ponzi scheme to guys that know better. Ben explained what slave labor is, and your program is slave labor. You just don't get it or don't want to. Your idea and program stinks. You still have not answered my question about why you don't fill police positions with these model citizens. You won't answer it because you know the idea is ridicules, just as the idea of criminals being firefighters is. Go pedal your job bleeding and labor crushing idea some place else. Firefighters and union labor will not stand for this shit idea.

It doesn't matter whether the firefighters are union, non-union, or volunteer - using prisoners as slave labor firefighters is a very, very bad idea.

Actually, Jack, Hitler used many of the Jews as unpaid labor.  Dr.Josef Mengele  was notorious for sorting those who could be worked as slaves from those who could not at the gates of Auschwitz.


The fact that not all of Hitler's victims were immediately executed but were instead worked and starved to death in no way excuses anything he did, but his use of slave labor is historical fact.



Brian, regardless of how you jump up and down and insist that using inmates as unpaid labor isn't slavery, the program for which you advocate clearly meets the definition of slave labor.


Your denial will not change that fact.


Further, this is the exact opposite of creating firefighter jobs - it's using prisoners as slave labor, which PREVENTS firefighter job creation on a one-for-one basis.


Nothing else you said will change any of those facts, nor will it change the definition of slave labor being unpaid labor by people who are not free to leave their employer/owner whenever they wish.

Brian, do you have a financial interest in pushing this inmate/slave labor/firefighter program?  It sounds very much like that may be the case.

It is sad to see this discussion degenerate into a heated discussion about slavery and Hitler. We are all professionals in the fire rescue services (both career and volunteer members of the fire rescue service are, or should be professionals)

 It is beneath us as professionals to continue in this discussion and to resort to conjuring up images of atrocities from the past as each tries to make their point.

The only question under discussion should be  what might be best for the safety of this community, for the safety of those who serve that community and for those who have been on the wrong side of the criminal justice system and been convicted of their crimes in court and who are now preparing to reenter society.

I would hope that we can look at those issues without rancor

Mischaracterization.  It is not only NOT beneath us, it is a professional imperative that we take an ethical stance against an unethical use of criminals either as slave labor or as structural firefighters subject to public trust.


Your use of the term "rancor" is also misplaced.  There was no rancor in this discussion, just a disagreement based on a discussion of a variety of facts.



OK, so based on what you are saying the members of the fire service that are volunteers are in fact slaves?  No one is being held against their well, they are free to return to the prison system.  And my background is I’m a Cherokee, Jew living in the south. How dare you bring up such a tragic thing or even try to compare it!

This was brought up as a discussion as to the significance and value.  A forum to discuss and bounce ideas around.

You really need to take a long hard look inside yourself. Why do you do this job? Many of you have the opportunity to get paid to do a job the majority do for free. Saving lives is more than just running into burning buildings or cutting people out of cars and running medical calls. It’s about making a difference.

I did a little interview with FFN and invited them to come do an in-depth interview to see the operation and publish the whole story for you. I would ask you to contact them and express an interest so you can have a non-bias open understanding about what is going on here to see the true pros and cons. (pun intended)


Ron, The subject really is not about safety, it is about the degradation of the fire service. The base issue is no criminals in the fire service. We as a service try very hard to hire upstanding individuals, this plan undercuts that effort. It also lets public officials play to the lowest common denominator, money. They will say convicts are cheaper, therefore better for the community. The issue of slavery is an issue to be considered, it is not rancor.
Brian, You are again very far off base. Volunteer FF can quit any time they wish. Your men are confined by the state. I guess you are too close to see the difference. The bigger point is how badly a plan like this can hurt the fire service. You still have not answered my question about using your criminals as cops. Do you just answer the questions you like?

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