SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill giving California’s inmate firefighters a shot at becoming professional firefighters once they complete their sentences. The law he signed Friday will allow state and county inmates who train as firefighters to seek to erase the criminal records that often are a bar to employment.
California has been struggling in recent years to field enough inmate firefighters because of changes in state law that have reduced the number of lower-level offenders in state prisons.
The shortage grew this year, as thousands of more inmates were released early to slow the spread of the coronavirus.