A recent newspaper article highlighted the rehabilitative effect of training inmates as firefighters at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP).

CDCR provides inmate firefighting crews – from servicing local communities to fighting wildfires – at a huge benefit to California taxpayers in addition to rehabilitation.

Seeing a nearby prison tower “gives you a lot of gratitude for being over here (at the firehouse), inmate firefighter Nicolas Tucker told the Del North Triplicate newspaper and web-new service in Crescent City.

The newspaper said that according to inmate firefighters, “the program is a potential path toward recidivism, toward personal betterment and a potential life outside of prison walls.”

“You’ve got a chance to get this turned around go the right way,” inmate firefighter Michael Lewis told the newspaper. “Thank your lucky stars that you’re in a place to do something good.”

“I’ve found working the inmate crews has been really, really good,” said Kurt Watkins, training officer for the Crescent City Fire Department and Crescent City Fire Protection District. “They’re very consistent, and in fire service consistency is a big deal.”

PBSP Fire Chief Ryan Wakefield told the newspaper that the inmate firefighters’ consistency shouldn’t be a surprise – they train 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day while a firefighter on the outside might work 24 hours on and 48 hours off.

To read the entire article, go to (you may not be able to open this link from a CDCR computer):