When Arizona catches fire, prisoners step up

As the cost of fighting wildfires rises and the number of firefighters declines, Arizona found a solution: paying incarcerated men and women to do the same job for just five percent of the standard rate for firefighting. Arizona’s Inmate Wildfire Program, while fundamentally exploitative, is seemingly more complex. Those that go through the program find a sense of meaning and are given the opportunity to learn leadership and teamwork skills – things they can translate in life upon release.

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