Georgia County Considers Hiring Inmates as Firefighters

Officials claim that a "prisoner firefighter" program could save taxpayers more than $500,000.

Posted: 10/12/2011 05:55 PM EDT
Filed Under employment

Next time there’s a fire in rural Camden County, Georgia, people may find themselves being rescued by an Atlanta prison inmate.

 

County officials are considering a money-saving program that would put inmates in fire stations according to news reports.

 

The convicted felons would respond to all emergencies, including residential fires, alongside traditional firefighters.

 

Sound bizarre? It gets even more extreme. The inmates would have no guard and would only be monitored by a surveillance system and by the regular firefighters. Some are questioning, however, in the heat of a fire, who’s going to run after an inmate if he or she tries to escape.

 

“If you vote to bring these inmates into our working environment, you jeopardize not only the employees’ well-being, but the safety of our citizens,” firefighter Stuart Sullivan told county commissioners during a recent meeting.

 

In order to qualify for the program, potential participants must have been charged with low-level crimes such as drug offenses and thefts. They would also need a record of good behavior and would have to pass an interview process.

 

Some are supportive of the program that could save the county more than $500,000 a year, while others strongly disapprove.

 

What’s your take?

 

To contact or share story ideas with Danielle Wright, follow and tweet her at @DaniWrightTV.

 

 

(Photo: The Post-Standard/Landov)

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