People incarcerated inside Florence State Prison process eggs for Hickman's Family Farms. They train wild horses and donkeys for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, prepare bobbins for sewing, package animal feed used throughout the state, and irrigate the farmland surrounding nearby towns. Some of them put their lives on their line by fighting wildland fires.
After the facility closes, will inmates return to this work?
With Governor Doug Ducey’s announcement earlier this month that he was closing the facility, to the shock of town officials and criminal justice reform advocates alike, inmates wonder if they will be able to return to their same jobs upon relocation to a new facility.
Officials facilitating the process have remained relatively opaque on these details, with one exception.
On Friday, the Department of Corrections has confirmed that Florence prisoners who are also firefighters employed by the state will continue their work together – crews will be relocated en masse, allowing them to maintain the partnerships they’ve developed with one another over their years spent fighting fires throughout the state.