San Quentin Inmates Rescue Boaters

Prison firefighters pull couple from San Francisco Bay
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2011 2:02 AM CDT
Updated Apr 21, 2011 5:05 AM CDT
San Quentin Inmates Rescue Boaters
A view of the California State Prison in San Quentin, California.    (Getty Images)

If he were alive today, Johnny Cash might be surprised to learn that San Quentin did some good. Inmates from the California prison's fire department rescued a man and woman whose boat capsized in the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay, reports CNN. The woman, who was wearing a life jacket, survived, but the man, who wasn't, died later in a local hospital.

The inmate firefighters—most of whom weren't firefighters before being sent to prison—live in a firehouse outside the prison's secure perimeter, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Inmates convicted of violent or sexual offenses aren't allowed on the squad. The rescue is "an opportunity out here to show people that even though we made a mistake and we have some debt to society, we are still human beings and we care for people and want to help people," inmate firefighter Derrick Edgerly tells KTVU. (More San Quentin stories.)

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