California saves big time using thousands of prisoners, including women, to battle the colossal fire raging across the state now. They exploit these prisoners at a fraction of the price of those traditionally employed and they cut these kind of corners to fight its biggest environmental problem.
There are a few incentives for prisoners to participate in fire fighting. They receive skills and training they could potentially use in the future. A bigger reward though, is the $1 an hour they get for firefighting. Compensation for normal prison labor is only $2 per day, so that 1 dollar an hour is a small improvement in a bigger slavery. Prisoner firefighters can also earn time off for good behavior, it can mean two days off of a sentence for every day served firefighting. This still means these prisoners can be essentially slave firefighters for decades
There’s a big cash incentive for the state to cut corners by taking advantage of vulnerable prisoners. A few dollars a day is enormously different from the $74,000 plus benefits a year it pays average salaried firefighters. California saves an estimated $80-$100 million a year by exploiting prisoners.