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Gov. mulls early release for inmates who fought wildfires

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Some prisoners who helped fight the destructive Oregon wildfires last year could be released early.

Gov. Kate Brown commended adults in custody who “bravely fought these wildfires and helped prevent further destruction and loss of life across the state,” according to a March 5 letter provided to KOIN-TV.

The governor in the letter said these adults in custody should be rewarded and acknowledged for their contribution to this historic firefighting response.

Inmates would have to meet certain criteria in order to receive up to one year taken off their sentence. The criteria includes fire crew participation, good conduct for previous 12 months, a suitable housing plan before release, a health care needs assessment. They also can't present an unacceptable safety, security, or compliance risk to the community.

The governor asked Corrections to provide her a list of all inmates who meet the criteria by April 16, according to the department.

Marion and Polk county district attorneys said this week they’re opposed to the early release of violent offenders who helped fight the fires, the Statesman-Journal reported.

“While these people may have assisted during a crisis, there is an important distinction between these offenders and our first responders and law-abiding community members who heroically did the same,” said Paige Clarkson, Marion County district attorney.

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