Civil Grand Jury reports conservation camps could face worker shortage |

Civil Grand Jury reports conservation camps could face worker shortage

Nevada County’s Civil Grand Jury in a Friday report stated that the Washington Ridge Conservation Camp could face a worker shortage because of the state’s 2011 realignment act, a loss that could significantly impact firefighting efforts across the state.

Realignment, the report states, could mean fewer workers because amended sentencing guidelines would result in a smaller pool of potential inmate crews.

According to the report, realignment changed sentencing guidelines for many “low-risk” inmates. The changes have moved them from state prisons, where they could enter a conservation camp, to county jails or probation. Inmates at local jails typically aren’t available for conservation camps.

“The consequence, according to information supplied by Washington Ridge administrators, could be the closure of approximately 13 conservation camps throughout the State,” the report states. “That means the state could lose as many as 90 fire crews.”

The grand jury recommended that the state corrections department work with county officials to ensure all conservation camps are fully staffed, and that local officials continue to work with the Washington camp in its money-saving efforts.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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