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 (http://bit.ly/nZbutT) that the program would put two inmates in each of three existing firehouses in Camden County.

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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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This is a joke right?

I cant say that I comletely agree with it, it sounds like it could work. One one hand, to me, the position of firefighter is a prestigious position. I would hate to think that I could be refused such a job, and a criminal with less training and a longer record could get it.

 

On the other hand, it will save money, and in the event of a LODD, i say better them than any of the "true brotherhood".

is the inmates gonna be able to run med calls?truthfully i hope not

 

 

I'll ask my friend that works for Camden Co. what he thinks. I think it is way off kilter.

On the other hand, it will save money, and in the event of a LODD, i say better them than any of the "true brotherhood".

 

First of all, the money savings about such a proposal pales in comparison to the ethics and issues involved here. This isn't like inmate wildland FF crews as some mentioned, this is about augmenting staffing by using convicted felons in a role that is supposed to be a trusted role. The problem is when looking at such costs savings, the common sense and rational thought goes by the wayside and it begs the question, Would such decision makers want this type of response when it is them calling?

 

Let's look at some issues here that cost factors don't account for. You have (as proposed) 3 convicted felons being supervised by one "officer". Felons with access to all sorts of "weapons" aka tools like axes, halligans, etc, etc and then to operate in private property with personal belongings and possessions of people....not just wildland. Yep, lots of temptation. Not to mention the fact that these are felons and as such have violated the trust of the public just by the very example of the position they are in. This is just a small tip of the issues not foreseen with such a proposal where money trumps rational thought.

 

However, this part sticks out "and in the event of a LODD, i say better them than any of the "true brotherhood".

 

Pretty shallow, wouldn't you think? Why would the death of an inmate FF be less than that of one who isn't? There have been inmate FF LODDs and guess what? Their names are on the same Fallen FF Memorial at Emitsburgh, right alongside those of many "true bretheren". So what makes their life any less than that of any other FF? The fact they committed a crime to get where they are?

 

 

I disagree wholeheartedly with such a proposal to use inmates as firefighters, especially when the idea is tossed up as a cost savings because the decision makers are too clueless to the issues involved with such a decision. I honestly think such proposals are stupid, don't account for the big picture, demeans the service of those law-abiding citizens who do the job, and devalues and undermines the profession. I mean, after all, why not let convicts be elected officials too? Seems they should just be left to do any job at a cost savings.

 

A convicted felon has shown they can't be trusted by the nature of being where they are. It doesn't matter if it was a "white collar" crime or a non-violent crime, they are in prison for a reason and that isn't to be used in a trusted position as the fire service. They broke that public trust and have to pay for their crimes, but there are ways to regain that trust without it involving using them in such a position of trust just for the sake of "cost savings".

 

Sure, there are examples of inmate FF's with prison responses and wildland fires, of which both are not the same as a public response to structures as being proposed. I don't agree with the proposal, but also disagree with believing that an inmate FF's life is thus worth less than any other FF.

The reality is that in Georgia prisoners have been used as firefighters for many years including at the State Public safety Training Center where prisoners are trained in the same skills as all other personnel. However they are supervised by prison officers.

I work with the National Fire Services Office and we started this program over two years ago in Georgia. The program has been a great success for everyone involved. I'm not saying it has been perfect but it has done a lot of good. The inmates are trusties and have no serious crimes. Many have been former firefighters in the free world.

I would like to ask the ones that are so critical, if they have never done anything wrong in their lives? Drove while haven a little too much to drank, done any drugs, took something that wasn’t theirs or bought something that they thought might be stolen?

The big different between many of them and us is they were caught. These are not career criminals and are the same that work on detail crews in the public already. We have had many that this program has made a big difference in their lives and have left with a new outlook on life.

I would love to tell you more if you would like to at least listen with an open mind and answer any questions or concerns. I would also like to invite you to come and check out the program and talk to the paid and volunteer members of the fire department.

"Are" the inmates.
Are you kidding me, hire someone that has been convicted of a felony and have him in the firehouse, in people's homes. that is so insane I cannot believe you are even saying it. My department will not hire people with a prison record, nor should they. You really simplify their crimes with your statement. Drunk driving is serious and if they are in prison for it I assure you it was not the only time. Took some drugs?, I guess that is OK with you. How do you define a serious crime? The public trusts us, people are in prison because they have proven to be lairs, thieves, etc. They are not welcome in the fire service, they can have their second chance some where else, maybe the police department.

Let's see, in the spring there was this BIG push back against unions, who were being characterized and blamed for ruining local/state economies.  Unions were being held up as greedy bastards sucking local and state budgets dry.

Now Camden County, apparently unable to afford (or maybe just unwilling) to build more fire stations and hire appropriate candidates to staff said houses and unable to find any volunteers ["Another option, building up a volunteer force, doesn't seem promising, [Commission Starline] said. "The volunteer program is currently not very successful because of the economy..."]  has decided to do with the next best thing; prisoners.  (It being georgia I'd be willing to bet there will be no shortage of prisoners. And If you're already a FF I might suggest driving AROUND georgia.  Imagine how 'valuable' an already trained FF would be to the prison system fire service down there?)

So they can't or won't raise taxes and locals are not interested in joining a volunteer department to provide for their own fire protection. Seems to me they deserve whatever they get.  So why not just establish "volunteer" fire departments fully staffed by prisoners?  They are at the station 24/7, no days off, no holidays, certainly much much cheaper than paying for fire protection.  Who knows, maybe it will become a national trend: doing away with paid fire departments and staffing them exclusively with prisoners.

In fact, why not staff schools with prisoners?  Train them to be teachers (really, it's not like it's splitting atoms), at the end of the school day, they then clean the school, wax the hallways and prepare for the next day (and maybe answer fire calls too).  But why stop there, make prisoners nurses in the hospital, another cost cutting measure for health care, and use them as janitors there as well.

I can just see this taking off, prisoner being used anywhere they can be.  Hell, Ford Motor Company would probably jump on this, 'phase out' their paid (er, unionized) employees and bring in the scabs prisoners to be rehabilitated WHILE making automobiles.

I'm guessing, in line with the loud voices from the Congress, this is Georgia's way of creating new jobs!  Yay innovation!

So the next time Y'all start to bitch about the economy and the jobs issue, take comfort because, at the least, Georgia's got yer back!  Now all's ya needs to do is bend over.

The inmates are trusties and have no serious crimes. Many have been former firefighters in the free world.

............................I would like to ask the ones that are so critical, if they have never done anything wrong in their lives? Drove while haven a little too much to drank, done any drugs, took something that wasn’t theirs or bought something that they thought might be stolen?

 

 

So what you are implying here is that there are just so many more "criminals" just they haven't been caught yet, right?

 

Well the bigger difference is one group has a clear violation of public trust and one doesn't. It doesn't matter what the crimes were, they are in jail for a reason and it sure isn't because of being law abiding now is it?

 

so... if you cant get hired by the city..... go rob a bank?

 

Now the "new americans" and the criminals are taking jobs from honest americans! This damn tea party needs to go.

 

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