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Gov. Brown commutes sentence for 41 inmates who helped battle last year's wildfires

Twenty-three of those inmates are expected to be released next month; the remaining 18 will have 12 months shaved off their sentences.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Gov. Kate Brown is commuting the sentences of 41 inmates who helped battle the historic wildfires that burned in Oregon in 2020. 

The governor requested the Oregon Department of Corrections conduct a case-by-case analysis of the inmates who fought the fires, a spokesperson for her office told KGW on Wednesday.

The Oregonian/Oregon Live reports of those identified for commutation, 23 are expected to be released on July 22. 

The remaining 18 inmates will have 12 months reduced from their sentence.

In order for inmates to qualify to participate in a fire crew last year, they had to meet the following criteria:

  • Had a good conduct record for 12 months
  • Had a suitable housing plan after prison
  • Had their out-of-custody health care needs assessed and addressed
  • Did not present an unacceptable safety, security or compliance risk to the community 

"While the Labor Day 2020 wildfires destroyed homes and forests across Oregon, many adults in custody—who qualified for participation in a fire crew due to good behavior and having received proper training—bravely fought these wildfires, alongside civilian firefighters, and helped prevent further destruction and loss of life across the state," said Liz Merah, press secretary for the governor's office. 

"The Governor recognizes that these adults in custody served our state in a time of crisis, and she believes they should be rewarded and acknowledged for their contribution to this historic firefighting response."

The 2020 wildfire season was one of the most destructive Oregon has ever seen. The fires burned more than a million acres and destroyed thousands of homes.

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