Eligible Inmates Get a Chance at Success
California is on fire. Since the beginning of 2020, 4 million acres have burned and continue to destroy wildlife, property and livelihoods. Firefighters are working around-the-clock to contain the fires but what many people don’t know is that hundreds of California inmates are battling the flames alongside them. They’re only getting paid between $2 and $5 a day to put their lives on the line, and that’s not even the main concern.
The issue at hand is what happens after these CA firefighter inmates are released. They’ve proved their abilities to fight fires while incarcerated, but when they are freed, they experience barriers to becoming professional firefighters. As such, Gov. Gavin Newsom aimed to change that by signing Assembly Bill 2147.
Under the new law, certain prisoners can access the following benefits upon their release:
- They can petition to withdraw their plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty
- The court can dismiss the accusations or information against eligible inmates and release them from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the convicted offense
- the court can order the early termination of probation, parole, or supervised release if it determines that the inmate has not violated any of the terms or conditions of their release during the pendency of the petition withdraw their plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere
Exceptions to the Bill
While AB2147 is a big step towards helping CA inmates become professional firefighters upon their release, there are barriers. Just like with any rule, exceptions apply, therefore you must remember that not all inmate firefighters can reap the benefits of the AB2147. Inmates who were convicted of the following offenses are ineligible for relief provided by the new law:
- Lewd acts on a child under 14 years of age
- Any felony punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison for life
- Any sex offense requiring registration
- Escape from a secure perimeter within the previous 10 years
Is Your Loved One Battling CA Fires?
We commend California’s firefighter inmates for putting their lives on the line while receiving little in return. Our Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyers are compassionate to the circumstances that hundreds of the state’s prisoners are facing, and will do everything in our power to help them achieve success post-release. Although there are exceptions to AB2147, we are confident in our abilities as former prosecutors to negotiate for the best possible outcome for your loved one.
Our mission is to help reduce the battles that CA inmate firefighters may experience upon their release. They’ve battled enough this year already. To learn more, contact Appel & Morse at (805) 467-6060 today!