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There are currently fourteen wildfires burning in California, covering a total of almost 250,000 acres. In the fourth year of a historic drought, keeping these fires contained has been a challenge for fire crews statewide.

So who's doing the firefighting? As it so happens, quite a few of California's prison inmates are helping battle the blazes.

Incarceration can be hard for anyone, and for those suffering from mental illness, prison can be a nightmare. As public funding for mental health plummets and prison populations soar, the prospects for mentally ill inmates may only get worse.

While this situation may seem dire, there can be options available for inmates who seek mental health treatment while incarcerated.

How Dangerous Is Jail?

We hear horror stories all the time about jail, from jokes about sexual assault to real cases of inmates dying in jail cells, and most of us are fine assuming the worst things imaginable happen behind bars.

But even people who have been convicted of crimes should not be subjected to additional violence while incarcerated. So how safe or dangerous are our jails and prisons?

Pregnancy can be joyous, expectant, stressful, happy, or scary, or all of the above. Being pregnant in prison can be downright terrifying.

Statistics show that 4 to 7 percent of women entering prison are pregnant and a full 85 percent of incarcerated women are mothers. So what happens if you give birth in jail?

Facetime, Skype, Google Hangout. These services help long distance lovers gaze into each other's eyes. They allow grandmothers to see their grandbabies in other countries. They allow parents to have virtual visitations with their children.

Now, video calls, also known as video visitation, allow family members to visit with inmates from the comfort of their own home. Since last year, over 500 jails and prisons in 43 states and the District of Columbia have implemented a video visitation system. Proponents of the system hail its low cost for prisons, while opponents fear that video visitation may become a substitute for in person visits.

So, is video visitation the future of prison visits?

The Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law released a report last week detailing the deaths of 14 inmates in the last eight years due to "[t]he extreme, suffocating heat in Texas prisons." The report, entitled "Reckless Indifference: Deadly Heat in Texas Prisons," concluded "[i]nmates and guards at TDCJ prisons are regularly subjected to extremely high temperatures and humidity levels resulting from Texas summertime conditions and the lack of air conditioning and adequate ventilation in TDCJ facilities."

Do these deaths constitute cruel and unusual punishment? And should jails be required to provide air conditioning for prisoners during extreme heat?

A jail guard for New York City's Rikers Island unit was arrested Monday in connection with the overheating death of a mentally ill prisoner earlier this year.

Carol Lackner, 34, was stationed in a special jail unit for mentally ill inmates and has been accused of falsifying records to make it seem as if she was checking on inmates when she wasn't. Lackner was tasked with checking on ex-Marine Jerome Murdough, 56, every half-hour in February, when he roasted to death inside his 101-degree cell.

What criminal charges is Lackner facing for Murdough's death?

In addition to being a time-honored institution, marriage has been a hard-won civil right in America. So can inmates in jail or prison take part in the legal sanctity of marriage?

Good news for jail birds and love birds: In most cases, it is possible for prisoners to legally marry their spouses -- even if they're serving life sentences.

So before you start asking the prison commissary if it carries wedding invitations, check out these legal facts about marriage behind bars:

Can You Transfer to a Different Jail, Prison?

Being locked up in jail or prison can be pretty inconvenient, especially if you're far away from family members. So can you transfer to a different correctional facility?

Jail or prison transfer requests can be based on a variety of factors, but they're not always granted. Generally, county, state, and federal prisons set their own rules for the administration of the correctional facilities they control.

Here's what you need to know about transferring to a different jail or prison:

How do inmates buy things in jail or prison? Being incarcerated doesn't mean that you stop being a consumer, and almost every penal institution has a commissary system to allow inmates to buy goods.

Whether you're in jail or prison -- and yes there is a difference -- an inmate with some outside funding can purchase food, clothing, and even hobby supplies.

But getting credit to buy things isn't always so easy.