California backs off plan that would have eased standards for inmate firefighters

Feb 20, 2016 2:46 PM by News Staff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California's new corrections chief is backing off a plan to ease standards for inmate firefighters and focusing instead on persuading county sheriffs to send more jail prisoners to the state program.

Scott Kernan tells The Associated Press that he's dropping, at least for now, a proposal that would have let state inmates participate with up to seven years remaining on their sentences, up from the five-year limit.

Kernan says that he expects the state will have enough inmate firefighters for this fire season. At least a dozen sheriffs have agreed to send jail prisoners, who have lesser offenses, to the state program.

The corrections chief says analysis found lowering standards wouldn't have produced a significant increase in the number of qualifying inmates.

Kernan took over last month as secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved


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