Synopsis: California's governor passed a bill, California bill AB2147, that will give prisoners battling the state's massive wildfires a chance to avoid a different battle after their release: That of finding a job. Criminal records are often a bar to employment. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he wants to give the prisoners a shot at becoming firefighters and that removing their criminal history will make that more possible. "California inmate firefighter program is decades-old and has long needed reform," Newsom said on Twitter. "Inmates who have stood on the front lines, battling historic fires should not be denied the right to later become a professional firefighter." The goal is to make it easier for them to have a firefighting career after release.
Synopsis: Correctional facilities shifted their traditional industries programs to the production of masks, plastic face shields, and other PPE in early March. Once enough PPE was made for the Department of Corrections’ needs they began giving supplies to homeless shelters, day centers, residential programs, nonprofits, county jails, and state agencies at no cost.
Ken Lindsey, industry manager at the Warren prison, was in communication with the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA) on a daily basis in early March, sharing information and ideas with prison industries programs in other states. They brainstormed about design, process, and how to get materials like fabric and elastic when everything from traditional vendors was back-ordered for months.