The California Department of Corrections is considering expanding inmates’ eligibility to become firefighters as the state battles widespread wildfires, raising concerns that some with violent pasts may be called up to the task. California’s inmate firefighters unit is 3,800 members strong, but the number is a drop from the mid-4,000s just a few years ago. The proposed rules would allow those convicted of crimes like assaults and robberies to participate if their security classification has been lowered since their incarceration. Those convicted of murders, kidnappings, and the like would still be excluded.
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