The Invaluable Work of California’s Inmate Firefighters | The Daily Show
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Inmate firefighters are a vital part of keeping California’s wildfires under control, but they aren’t paid adequately or permitted to keep firefighting post-prison. Smokey Bear weighs in on the situation.
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  • Jake Mcewen
    Jake Mcewen

    Those inmates are being robbed. Federal min wage is 7.25. I think some crimes are being commited...

  • dma69nyc

    That's the exact same reaction I had when I first saw Smokey take the mask off. Glad it wasn't just me.

  • KingOfGames

    1:45 I definitely thought that guy was Bill Nye just based on the sound and cadence of his voice

  • James Yakura
    James Yakura

    "Wildfires. As the climate changes and the land becomes drier..." Sounds dire. Perhaps we should aspire to avoid this briar, even if it means we retire some of the power we desire.

  • Cheshire Kat
    Cheshire Kat

    I'd say that whether or not a convicted felon should be allowed to become a firefighter, after he or she has served their sentence, depends on what crimes they committed. Firefighters interact with children a lot; so I'd say that no one who has been convicted of rape, or child-molestation (or attempted rape or child-molestation), should be allowed to become a firefighter.

  • Lup Domnitor
    Lup Domnitor

    America was built on the foundation of discrimination.

  • CheaterCheater

    Who all thought Smokey was going to take off his head and be a hot woman. Lol

  • Altrantis

    Where I'm from, firefighters don't get paid anything even though they're not prisoners.

  • Paraplegic octopus
    Paraplegic octopus

    Those Smokey ads were fire!!.... Oh, shit, wait..

  • doom2avatar

    They can be firefighters. Not all systems have combined fire+EMT. There’s good reason to be skeptical of past criminal history for medics. There is a pile of strong narcotics sitting in ambulances and you have to trust the medics to not use or sell that.

  • Samantha Des Jardins
    Samantha Des Jardins

    When we had the fire in Napa, people of Napa were told not to talk to inmate fire fighters nor were they allowed to take refreshments citizens brought. I heard people being yelled at for thanking them.

  • Michael Robertson
    Michael Robertson

    Modern day slavery....its bullshit..

  • SillyNa Cannada
    SillyNa Cannada

    There’s no profit in ex cons being legit. That’s all it boils down to. Pun intended.

  • Saiyan ForLife
    Saiyan ForLife

    So where supposed to teach the inmates how to stand on their feet after they served their time. But when they get out and find a new passion, the people in charge say, no no choose something else, you know something that doesn't involve helping others. Screw that non sense. Being a paramedic myself, first responders are short staffed. Let them work a job that not many are willing to do.

  • derp herp
    derp herp

    Let California burn , this is self inflicted. They made their bed, let them burn in it.

  • E S
    E S

    I remember living in Marin Co CA til last Dec. Inmates from San Quentin rescued people in trouble on a small boat on SF bay in the AM one night

  • orry townes
    orry townes

    Plus Bear-Face?! Animalist!

  • Larissa D
    Larissa D

    That is some BS doing those inmates that way.

  • Merrick Gould
    Merrick Gould

    Yes from a firefighter

  • Chris Pontius
    Chris Pontius

    So America's economy is still based on slavery. What else is new?

  • Dawn alexander
    Dawn alexander

    Thank God for the inmates for being there on the front line they are true Hero's God Bless all the firefighters 🙏🙏

  • Carlo Jones
    Carlo Jones

    Make special forest firefighters unit where EMT's work not part of this job. So some convict wouldn't be medic's , picking the pocket of heart attack patients they're treating . Need more creative policy makers. If some professions were not so hard to get into many people wouldn't have turned to crime. In California you need a special certification for lots of thinks but some just to collect public money.

  • Icare

    The prisons is a money making machine that rely on inmates to return to the system, why else would they not grant a chance or change the rules once these guys have served their time....keep your feet on their necks all the way to the bank.

  • Ronny Simon
    Ronny Simon

    Why dont you address the issue of arson instead of blame global warming you asshole

  • Felicia Gardner
    Felicia Gardner

    As someone who live near where the carr fire was, I am so appreciative that inmates did this. I was extremely pissed when I learned avout this from a cal fire volunteer. I think they should help those that fought fires get into the program for certification if they want to. And they should get paid like anyone else to do it in jail.

  • Sade Jones
    Sade Jones

    Prison = slavery

  • ike eki
    ike eki

    prison labor is an abhorrent scheme that exploits people and keeps them in a subjugated state. it could be an empowering and rehabilitative approach to crime, but not on those wages and not when they are forbidden from using these life-saving skills outside prison.

  • k3rrons

    To punish and enslave 👌

  • aura floo
    aura floo

    You know, I'm pretty sure I'm a minority in this thread but I don't get it. You feel bad for people in prison? They are in prison for a reason. You feel bad for rapists, murderers, thieves etc? Are you kidding? Can you imagine being a rape victim being told that the person who hurt you is getting off early because he was nice and kept to himself on jail? That's bullshit. What about a person who took the life of someone you love. You're NEVER getting that person back. They'll never see the next generation of the family, no weddings, no reunions no anything but yet the murderer DESERVES a better life. I'm sorry but this world is screwed up! American prison is too laid back in my opinion.

    • Aarotron 777
      Aarotron 777

      @aura floo When it comes to thinking yeah unfortunately California is in a world of it's own Haha The sad part is those who are quick to defend and whine about the convicted paying there dues back to the state are silent about the treatment of law abiding citizens who are treated like trash such as military veterans.

    • aura floo
      aura floo

      @Aarotron 777 It doesn't make sense! I'm reading and these ppl feel bad about prisoners in the fire crew not getting great benefits, money and better time off. Seriously?! Did they forget that these are BAD people? is California really soooo different from NYC? I mean this is polar opposite thinking.

    • Aarotron 777
      Aarotron 777

      This is California, truth be told "victims" don't mean anything. We live in an age where doing wrong is rewarded & doing right you are considered a sellout or some form of evil. The media sells false narratives and people buy into it.

  • ToniHunterOne

    I have one of the original large metal Smokey road signs!

  • ToniHunterOne

    that is shitty!

  • Sophia Leone
    Sophia Leone

    It's not volunteer, it's forced. You should thank Kamala Harris for putting poor people in prison to use them as slave labour.

  • Chrissyce

    They should be allowed to get EMT training in prison for free while they are in the program at the very least. The laws should also be changed to allow them to be able to get a job afterwards. They can make special provisions for the inmates that fought the fires.

  • gobanito

    Non-violent offenders should be allowed to become firefighters professionally after serving time as an inmate firefighter.

  • Re dacted
    Re dacted

    Americans have the weirdest fucking ads.

  • tenacious645

    They also can't vote. It's bullshit.

  • Patricia Handa
    Patricia Handa

    I read one time that 1 in 3 young black men will spend some time in jail. Then we wonder why more aren't legally employed. 😕

  • abbsnn cose
    abbsnn cose

    That’s basically slavery with a loophole.

  • N O
    N O

    Smokey bear is an ecoterrorist. Fires like this are caused by a lack of nutrients and water due to smaller plants like shrubs that grew and weeds. This makes it so it is more common to see fires like these and more fuel is available to the fire, causing it to no longer and stronger.

    • doliio volay
      doliio volay

      America wants to make money off of slavery. It also wants to keep people in prison.

  • Ray B
    Ray B

    So are you want8ng to commute sentences? NO!!! Crimes were still committed and for the criers saying. "These pooor criminals reoffend because EMPLOYERS and THE NEIGHBORS in the NEIGHBORHOODS in which you would want these criminals to live in have the right to demand knowledge of an individuals passed....its sooooo wrong!" Screw you criers, advocates, whiners and pissbags.YOU invite convicts into your home. YOU reform them. Stop expecting so much out of Society. For society itself is made up of People...Good or Bad.

    • abbsnn cose
      abbsnn cose

      month by fighting fires.

  • Melissa Sigua
    Melissa Sigua

    Yes they get paid little but it costs a lot to pay for them in prison, an avg of 30-40 k plus they get a sentence reduced. At the same time they should be able to become fire fighters after if they wish to do so. Clearly they were good for job when in prison and should qualify after, that’s just messed up. They paid their debt!

    • doliio volay
      doliio volay

      absolutely flipped!

  • Intercat

    How to avoid wildfires in California? Live in a world where a man from Missouri isn't encouraged by Trump's viciousness to go to California and start a fire. (Freddie Owen Graham, the Reservoir Fire, 20Sep2019. )

  • Jay Gagne
    Jay Gagne

    This is slavery

  • qopoy dnon
    qopoy dnon

    "Only you and cell block d can prevent forest fires." I died lol

  • Nathan Springer
    Nathan Springer

    This just in: California on fire.

  • Samuel Rosander
    Samuel Rosander

    Sadly, reason is lacking in that department. Most societies punish people for life. We're all about punishment, not rehabilitation. Some places actually put in the effort, but we are not one, for many reasons. One, your actions define you (usually), just as your race and sex and religion define you, and nothing you say or do will change that identity for most people; we're programmed to be tribal that way. Two, there's a lot of money to be made by not giving people a legitimate second chance (helping convicts learn to be productive and good members of society, and then giving them the chance to be once they do their time), and a lot of money to be saved by underpaying them, but the chance that your organization's image will suffer because of the past of the employees. And this isn't even considering the crappy and overloaded system we have that makes it hard for the poor to get good or even adequate representation, or the plethora of other issue inherent to that system. We just don't believe in second chances like we claim to.

    • qopoy dnon
      qopoy dnon

      You ppl are so full of shit, the moment you become a victim you want the offender to burn on a stake... you privileged hipocritical fucks.

  • Samson ben
    Samson ben

    Modern Day slavery. I'm a slave I just know it. Prisons filled with mostly Blacks & Hispanics interesting sounds like slavery to me whether your in prison or out of it still slavery from red lining to school to prison pipeline you oppress slaves so they never rise but make them think they are included. Deception only the DEVIL does that & when I kill you you have to forgive your slave master was beaten into so called blacks & Hispanics forced to do what they do as a slave now we stuck its called destruction. Integration was one of the worse things to ever happen to us at least we stuck together when all we had was each other now we so destroyed a black man can't even recognize his own brother that he's killing. & with the deception this country still says slavery is over lies. This country is going to get what's coming to it.

  • TheUgly Piña
    TheUgly Piña

    ooo the poor criminal ... i killed a family of 3 but the govern is the bad .... nice . You can do what you wan't but you pay the price ...

  • Cuda Danger Baird
    Cuda Danger Baird

    Structure fire requires an emt most of the time. Wildfire doesnt.

  • Major LeeStoned
    Major LeeStoned

    Imagine living in such Demorat shithole that they need to force inmates to fight fires.

  • Da’Ladybug E
    Da’Ladybug E

    Wonder if Rehabilitating People would Ever Be Part of a Rehabilitation Center 🤔

  • Melanie Schwartz
    Melanie Schwartz

    All of you talking about this being good option for inmates to get jobs after. Well in fact they do. The Juvenile system has a program that will allow them to become a firefighters, they are housed at the Pine Grove facility in CA. The youth that murdered my daughter and shot another person 2 days before that will have the opportunity to be in this program. Yes a murderer who has no remorse and continues to be involved with his gang inside the juvenile detention facility released back into society mascaraing as local hero firefighter. Give some thought to the fact that my daughter gets no second chance nor do I, her sisters, her friends all that loved her we get no second chance...guess the murderer is all that matters to you people.

  • Logical Juan
    Logical Juan

    Look. I get it, "They are a criminal, so if I hire them, they'll(insert crime here) again". You know, Prisons are SUPPOSED to be about not only punishing, but reforming. I would rather them be able to use their abilities to work and rebuild their lives. I don't know about you, but I'd like the idea of giving them the tools to turn things around, than throw them out to the dogs with a mark and end up re-offending, because what else can be done.

  • Nhi Hoang
    Nhi Hoang

    These people are being exposed to trauma and harsh conditions for 1-2 dollars? Then after they won’t even be able to become a firefighter after?? The morals in this country are absolutely flipped!

  • ForeverMe543

    America wants to make money off of slavery. It also wants to keep people in prison.

  • doliio volay
    doliio volay

    month by fighting fires.

  • moose bear
    moose bear

    No cons belong on the police force not the fire dept.

  • BullShitCorner Group
    BullShitCorner Group

    0:47 I guess you could call this a bear trap 🤣🤣🐻


    If they allowed it then nearly all of the firefighters eventually would come from that path. They want to abuse prisoners, not create legacies.

  • DJOE.E

    That aint smoke lol