An inmate work crew builds a containment line ahead of flames from a fire in 2015. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / AP
Inmates serving time for nonviolent crimes in California make up 35 to 40 percent of the firefighting force, according to the Daily Beast.
Getting paid $1 an hour, the "convict crew" is comprised of those who volunteer. Bill Sessa, spokesman for the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, said there were 1,700 inmates fighting fires on Friday alone.
- Inmate Joshua Coover, who helped fight fires in 2015, told the Easy Bay Times: "The best feeling is when we get off the fire; all the signs you see that say 'thank you, firefighters'...They even refer to us as the 'angels in orange.'"
Why it matters: The inmates are working the same hours as professional firefighters, and Sessa told the Daily Beast that $1 an hour is "the highest paying job for a California inmate and has rehabilitative value."