Yesterday, reports arrived from the U.S. Forest Service that the Mendocino Complex fire, the largest wildfire in the history of California, had been 100 percent contained. Raging since July, the fire managed to destroy over 450,000 acres in northern California, and the Mendocino National Forest itself will remain closed through the end of the year.
Among the many working to contain the flames were hundreds of inmates. In August, MuckRock submitted public records requests to the Departments of Corrections in Arizona, California, and Washington, requesting the compensation numbers for the incarcerated firefighters. As of yet, we haven’t received any responsive materials - Washington has at least acknowledged our request, noting that it would be able to fulfill the inquiry in November - but we have had a few submissions to our Assignment asking for your feedback on inmate firefighters.
The responses highlighted that the plight of prisoners in maintaining financial stability for their families, including the burden of high communication costs…
and the difficulty inmates have finding employment after release.
As we continue to wait for further movement on our requests, we’re also looking for any reports the states’ Departments of Corrections might have on their inmates’ post-incarceration employment. Take a minute to look through those requests via the map below.