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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 185133 Find in a Library
Title: Inmates Trained to Fight Wildfires
Journal: Corrections Technology and Management  Volume:4  Issue:5  Dated:September/October 2000  Pages:12-15
Author(s): Helen Kitchen Branson
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 4
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes the training and tactics in firefighting for selected Idaho inmates.
Abstract: Sixty inmates from the South Idaho Correctional Institution in Boise and 40 inmates from the St. Anthony Minimum Security Center have received the training that has enabled them to fight fires or conduct rehabilitation after fires as far away as Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. These men were trained in firefighting skills while doing time at the institution. The firefighters are accompanied into the field by a correctional officer and crew boss experienced in firefighting. Trainees are selected from inmates who express an interest in this type of work. To qualify to go out on fires, offenders must be in minimum custody. Inmates assessed to be at higher risk rarely are deployed for fires outside of Idaho. There are two levels of training. The first level focuses on regulations and skills required in the field. This level is reached with a minimum of 40 hours of classroom work. The next step is to qualify for a Red Card, which is obtained after completing the pack test (carry 45 pounds 3 miles in 45 minutes. The next step is determined by the ability and motivation of the individual. This level is reached by completion of a task book that every firefighter must master. There are other levels reached in the same manner through task books and classes. Qualified inmates may proceed with their training until they have the knowledge and skill to be crew bosses; however, they will never be used in this capacity while still in prison. This training provides the inmate with a foundation for continuing training to obtain any level of firefighting he may desire. Many experts believe that there may be less recidivism among released inmates when they are trained to do jobs that have high-risk elements. The basic tactics of firefighting for which the inmates are trained are described in the final section of this article.
Main Term(s): Corrections management
Index Term(s): Fire departments; Firefighters; Idaho; Inmate vocational training
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