SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Idaho is scrutinizing its program allowing prison inmates to help battle wildfires after one was charged with raping a woman working at a remote base camp in Utah. Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray says they've returned five crews to prison as they review which inmates are allowed to serve, the training they receive and how they are deployed. Meanwhile, inmate Ruben Hernandez is set make his first court appearance Wednesday on a felony rape charge alleging he assaulted the woman after she rejected his advances. He was part of a 10-person crew who cooked and did janitorial work. They were supervised by two Idaho correctional officers.
Most states in the U.S. West have similar programs allowing low-level offenders to be temporarily released to aid in firefighting efforts.