Inmates help fight the flames

Trail, Ore. — Inmates from the Jackson County Jail are spending their time on the inside – outside. Prisoners are helping fight the flames from the cleveland ridge fire.

Inmates are fully certified through Rogue Community College. The program is contracted with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

The money paid by ODF to the Community Justice Department is used to offset the cost of housing inmates, relieving the burden on tax payers. The program has averaged $170,000 in revenue for the past three years.

“It is one of the most successful things that we do. they talk about you know going out and feeling like they’re a productive member of society again – like they’re capable of doing great things,” Eric Guyer said.Guyer works with the Jackson County Community Justice Department to work with ‘inmates on the line.’

“At the end of the day, we’re trying to tell them – hey, come back to our community, but be something different,” he said.

The time of each inmates’ service varies by case, and the program averages approximately ten people each crew.

Once the inmates are released, they’re able to use their certification to work with other contract fire crews.

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