Firefighters, Rehabilitation

Formerly incarcerated firefighter found success through training, reentry program

Jose Morales in firefighting gear.
Jose Morales graduates the academy at the Firefighter Training and Reentry Program.

Through rehabilitative programs, Morales earns state firefighter job

By Lt. Alex Avila
Pleasant Valley State Prison

When Jose Morales began serving a five-year sentence for second-degree robbery in 2016, he discovered rehabilitative programs. His focus turned to the Firefighter Training and Reentry Program (FTRP).

In 2017, Morales accepted an inmate firefighter position at Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP). He and the rest of the prison fire crew assisted in fighting structural and vegetation fires as well as vehicle accidents in the area around PVSP.

In April 2019, Morales paroled from PVSP but continued with the FTRP at the Ventura Training Center. Morales said FTRP gave him an opportunity to better his life and continue his newfound passion. 

After finishing his parole term, Morales continued his education and earned several certificates of achievements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He also continued his efforts to become a professional firefighter. In October 2019, Morales earned the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Certificate of Training after completing 219-hours of Basic Firefighter training. 

Joining the CAL FIRE team

In December 2019, Morales earned his high school diploma. Following his hard work, education, and opportunity offered by FTRP, Morales landed a job with CAL FIRE’s Mendocino Unit Hand Crew, assigned to the Hopland station. 

Morales has battled the Gold Fire in Lassen County and various Hopland local area fires. Morales was recently battling the Oak Fire located in Mendocino County. 

Morales has been invited back to PVSP Firehouse as a guest to speak and motivate our current Inmate Firefighters of the opportunities and life changes they can achieve. 

“I’m proud of Morales’ accomplishments,” said PVSP Fire Chief Art Munoz.

Seeing how dedicated Morales was to becoming a firefighter, Chief Munoz recommended him for the Ventura Training Center, and attended the graduation.

CAL FIRE firefighter Jose Morales holds a chainsaw.
Jose Morales is now employed by CAL FIRE.