The Marshall Project

Working Their Way Home From Prison

Brian L. Frank photographs young men in a California prison camp and on their journeys to freedom.

When young men arrive at Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp—California’s first and only remaining rehabilitative prison camp for offenders sentenced as teens—they first notice the trees. Pine Grove sits in a small valley just above the snow line in the western Sierra Nevadas, between a casino and the mountains. The second thing they notice is that there is no barbed wire surrounding the property.

, a 2017 fellow, spent a year working with The Marshall Project to examine alternatives to traditional incarceration. One piece of that work, shown here, focuses on the young men incarcerated at Pine Grove, also known as “fire camp.” Frank documented the men, who range in age from 18 to 24, as they learned to fight fires and perform

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