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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I'm not liking it. If those cons were not trustworthy enough in society on their own what would make them trustworthy in the fire service?   Our tools can be very serious potential weapons. Would you want the cops to do same thing?  Would you want your cop to have a rap sheet?  They would be better served finding a different way than trying to make firemen out of convicts. 

  Maybe have the cons come out to clean the station, stock the units, wash the units do some general up keep at the station but I wouldn't send them out on firecalls. We're supposed to represent public safety, not throw it in the face of our people. Why should finest be represented by the worst? That's just  " ICK!"   Cons are not known for having the best judgement . 

How much is it going to cost to train the traditional firefighter to be a corrections officer ? how much is the monitoring system for each inmate? My guess is the savings projected is a lot less then stated , jmo
I disagree with such a concept, I think it is a stupid plan and another fine example of politicians who have no clue. This is what happens when money becomes the determining factor, even preventing the use of common sense and rational thought.
What if the con was a burglar? That would give him easy access to swipe something more or stalk somebody and drag the fire service down with it?  The budget might be broke, but they should not  be so broke that they spend all their common sense too. What if one of the cons goes AWOL?  Then what are they going to do? They are going to blame the fire service not the Dept. of Corrections
Well obviously the City is considering options to help fund a need. I would have a difficult time considering doing this given the fact that these people are committing crimes to get into the fire service.  Yes, poor attempt to be funny but seriously, they have committed a crime that put them in jail so hey! lets put them to work in a fire station so we can use them in this manner. Inmates have been used for years in fighting wildfires. Different arena. Now you say we will take them into peoples homes and into their personal space on medical calls. Let alone the need to keep these folks from leaving. I'm thinking that I wouldnt want to take this on nor would I want to put my community in this situation. Let alone bring these people into my fire house and all the dynamics it affords. This looks like another great idea of the bean counters that hasnt been thought through.
This is an absolutly insane idea! I do not know of a fire department that would hire someone with a felony record, why would you let them in the fire house for free. They are thieves and liers therefore they would steal and lie. All I can say is, are you kidding me?

While not a fan of the idea I do know that years ago my brother in law got his NPQ while in prision and at one time the Ga fire academy used inmates to help with training ( live burns etc.) Now I think they only use them as a cleaning crew. However there was a joke in Ga that some of the best firefighters in the state were cons. In the area that I live in we do have a fire crew from a minimal transition place ( where they go right before release) and I have worked and trianed with them more than once. They had thier CO with them at all times and I never had an issue either when I was on an attack crew or running safety.


Having said that as a citizen I dont know that I want a person that has commited certain crimes in my home. But I will let them work all the wildland fires they want.

Were these people born stupid, or did they have to work at it?
Might as well put them in patrol cars while they're at it!

i dont think the state of ga will put serious offenders on the call or in the house, i do think that low level offenders will be there thou, white collar,disorderly conduct, stuff like that

they know the risk of putting felons on the block with the men and women of the service,

they already have them as smoke jumper's for the forestry service, and belive it or not it's working out, only for non-violent offenders and inmates with less than 6months to go on their time.

the city of cleveland ohio has taken the box off the application that ask;s if you are a convicted felon and will not even ask you that question anymore

There is a big difference in being able to trust a criminal fighting a wildland fire where there is limited temptation or opportunity to commit property crimes.  The wildland fires that are large enough to involve prison firefighters are typically campaign events with hundreds of non-criminal firefighters around to keep eyes and ears on the prison firefighter teams.


The same level of trust cannot be expected for criminals fighting structural or vehicle fires where there is a great deal of temptation and opportunity for the unstrustworthy to steal, and there will be very little supervision given the minimal manpower available.


Using prisoners as firefighters in the way that is being proposed is a very, very bad idea.

You would let some white collar thief work in your firehouse? Are you kidding me he is a thief.

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