California Governor signs law that provides benefits to prisoners who are fighting fires

California fires prisoners. Governor Gavin Newsom signed law that allows the elimination of criminal records of inmates who fight fire &#...

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Foto del Twitter de Gavin Newsom y video de MH
  • California fires prisoners. Governor Gavin Newsom signed law that allows the elimination of criminal records of inmates who fight fire
  • “Inmates who have been on the front lines, fighting these historic fires, should not be denied the right to later become professional firefighters,” he said.
  • At least 20 people have died in California wildfires

California fires prisoners. The California governor approved a bill on Friday that will give inmates fighting the state’s massive wildfires a chance to avoid a different battle after their release: that of finding a job, USA Today reported, cited by Yahoo! News.

With California Bill AB2147, Governor Gavin Newsom will be able to expunge the criminal records of certain prisoners who are on the front lines of wildfire containment. The goal is that after they serve their sentences, they can find work as firefighters.

A criminal record is often an obstacle to getting a job. Newsom said he wants to give the prisoners a chance to become firefighters and that expunging their criminal records will make that possible.

California fires prisoners

Getty

“California’s inmate firefighter program is decades old and in need of reform,” Newsom said on Twitter Friday.

“Inmates who have been on the front lines, fighting these historic fires, should not be denied the right to later become professional firefighters.”

Newsom signed the bill against a backdrop of gray ash and charred trees near Lake Oroville, the site of one of the most devastating fires of many to burn in the state in recent weeks.

At least 20 people have died in the California wildfires, according to Cal Fire.

The bill excludes those convicted of certain crimes, including murder, kidnapping, rape, arson, or any serious crime punishable by death or life imprisonment.

California has struggled in recent years to deploy enough firefighters from its state due to changes in state law that have reduced the number of lower-level offenders in state prisons.

Filed Under: California Fires Prisoners

The court rulings also ended some of the incentives for inmates to risk their lives fighting fires when they could earn similar early release credits with less dangerous duties.

The shortage grew this year as thousands more inmates were released early in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus through prisons, reducing the number of incarcerated firefighters by 30% from last year.

The new law may create a new incentive, allowing firefighters who were incarcerated after their release to petition a judge to withdraw their guilty plea. The judge could choose to dismiss the charges.

California field workers face tough fire conditions

Many farmworkers in California are facing tougher and healthier working conditions this Friday due to smoke from the current fires in the state. However, in areas severely affected by the fire such as Sonoma County, or in the Central Valley, farmworkers continue their duties despite difficulties.

In a photo on the Twitter account of the Unión de Campesinos (UFW) union, Diego – who did not mention his last name – a worker from Watsonville, Santa Cruz County northwest of Los Angeles, shared a photo of the field where he worked with a strong presence smoke.

Although it is the obligation of contractors and employers to provide the worker with all the necessary elements to protect against these types of conditions, some do not comply with the regulations, so the UFW is following up to report the cases to the Occupational Health and Safety Division. from the California Department of Industrial Relations (Cal / OSHA).

Filed Under: California Fires Prisoners

“At this time it is very dangerous to be outside in certain areas such as the Salinas Valley,” Armando Elenes, UFW secretary-treasurer, explained to Efe, indicating that the index of the presence of microparticles currently suspended in the air in that area is approximately 560.

Cal / OSHA’s code of regulation indicates that employers must provide N-95 masks to their workers when the index “is 151 or greater and where employers should reasonably anticipate that employees could be exposed to smoke from wildfires. ”.

“With that current rating of more than 500, wearing a mask is not optional, it is mandatory, and yet the ranchers are not complying with the regulations and although they received masks, some have not distributed them,” Elenes denounced.

The union member explained that in a survey conducted by the UFW on September 9 to which 338 farm workers responded, “92% said they did not receive N-95 type masks to protect themselves from smoke.”

However, farmers continue to work out of necessity even at the risk of their health.

“There is nothing heroic about what we are doing,” Erick, a farm worker from King City, Monterey County, commented on UFW Twitter, sharing a photo showing the cloudy red sky.

“We work out of necessity,” he added.

Filed Under: California Fires Prisoners

With two dozen large fires that have consumed thousands of hectares between August and September in the state, the air stale by smoke can seriously affect the health of these workers.

The air highly polluted by the fires joins the risk of contagion of COVID-19 that these workers currently face, who, due to the conditions of their work, are often unable to maintain social distance and other protective measures.

Between September 12 and 18, the UFW has scheduled events in agricultural cities such as Santa Rosa, Fairmead, Gonzales, Tulock and Salinas, among others, to distribute free N-95 smoke protection masks and cloth face masks to prevent the contagion of coronavirus.

Filed Under: California Fires Prisoners

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