Chain Gang

There's at least one positive thing coming out of the spate of massive wildfires in California and Arizona: female prison inmates are getting some much-needed boosts to their self-esteem. About 350 non-violent female prisoners are working for $1 an hour (and 2 days knocked off their sentence for every day worked) clearing fire containment lines in California. The program doesn't allow violent criminals, sex offenders or, obviously, arsonists, leaving mostly drug offenders and those convicted of fraud. The women appreciate the work because it gives them a taste of freedom and allows them to get their muscles moving; the supervisors appreciate it because female inmates are supposedly "easier to handle" and make nice, neat lines. [AP]