Canberra prisoners have collectively donated more than $300 towards fighting the bushfire crisis since early January, and have delivered air crews some 30 meals a day.
Corrections' fire protection manager, Tom Gibbs, devised the idea to have inmates prepare lunch and dinner packs for people at fire grounds. He's been delivering the meals to Hume's air base since January 3; from there, they're taken to Adaminaby, Moruya, Batlow, and Talbingo.
"I'm a volunteer firefighter myself and I've worked with the emergency services in the ACT before," Mr Gibbs said.
"I've come on [at the Alexander Maconochie Centre] and I've seen the food they produce; from my own experiences out there, I thought this could be something Corrective Services could assist [with]."
The ACT's Justice Minister, Shane Rattenbury, described the meals - which mostly include meat and vegetables - as "top class", and said detainees were keen to assist fire crews with their efforts.
He said the Alexander Maconochie Centre was the only prison in Australia which allowed inmates to send emails, as well as make phone calls. "Those communication channels to families have remained open right through this fire period," he said.
Detainee Paul Blundell reiterated Mr Rattenbury's sentiment; he said the bushfire crisis had "touched everyone" and preparing meals for fire crews was a good opportunity to give back.
"We're here because we did the wrong thing, so we're trying to do the right thing," Blundell said.
"If we can do just a little bit to help, I'm sure [fire crews] appreciate it, and it gives all the boys a sense of purpose."
Alexander Maconochie Centre senior director of accommodation, Natalie Veenstra, said a number of inmates had asked how they could donate money to support firefighters and the recovery effort.
"Our finance department set up a round robin of donations and a number of detainees have donated from their personal accounts, which is quite generous," Ms Veenstra said.
Of nearly 450 detainees at the jail as of Monday, 18 had donated money since January 6, Ms Veenstra said.
The amount raised totalled about $314; $238 went to the NSW Rural Fire Service, $40 went to the Australian Red Cross, and the remainder was split between CFA Victoria, and the Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation.
Mr Gibbs said detainees would continue preparing meals for fire crews "until they tell us they no longer require it".
"These fresh dinners can be suitable to be frozen for up to three months ... we've now got the capability and scope to feed those air crew at really short notice," he said.
"[The meals are also given to other] workers, firefighters, and administrative support staff."
Detainees working in the jail's kitchen also prepare baked goods for its entire staff and inmate population, Mr Rattenbury said.