Since 1951 ODF has utilized Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) inmates to help reforest and protect State Forest lands. ODF trains and supervises inmate crews to perform a variety of key forest management and protection projects:
- Fire suppression
- Controlled burns and fuels reduction
- Young stand management
- Pre-commercial thinning
- Brush removal
- Recreation infrastructure maintenance
- Forest road improvement
- Invasive weed removal and riparian rehabilitation
- Trash and debris clean up
This interagency partnership allows inmates to gain valuable work skills while providing economic, social, and environmental benefits for Oregonians.
South Fork Forest Camp
While ODF currently utilizes inmate crews for fire protection out of several institutions statewide, the history of using inmate labor started with South Fork Forest Camp in 1951. South Fork Camp is the only DOC institution to be sited on Board of Forestry Lands and the only prison facility that is owned and jointly operated by two agencies. It is the largest and oldest work camp in the Pacific Northwest. Work crews perform forest management in eleven counties in northwest Oregon, assist with disaster relief efforts, and engage in fire suppression statewide. In a given year, South Fork Camp can produce up to 28,000 man days of skilled inmate labor saving the state millions in labor costs.
South Fork Camp's mission is to:
- Provide cost effective, skilled inmate labor to the State Forests and Protection from Fire Programs
- Promote public safety by holding inmates accountable
- Reduce recidivism by modeling pro social behavior and teaching work skills that help inmates be productive citizens upon release
Read more about South Fork Camp History.