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.
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?
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 .
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.
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.