He seems like a good candidate for transitional release given that he served in fire camp. I've been to Ione several times; I assume you are referring to the lowest level of custody there.
Usually, once a person's release date gets near, he is transferred to a minimum security housing arrangement where he can sometimes be released during the day to work at a job in the community, either through a state program or a private employer.
If the prisoner does well, he may possibly qualify for placement in a half-way house, a residential facility where he can have a job, and may even qualify for day or weekend passes. Once he has completed the halfway house, he can be released to the community. My understanding (which might be wrong) is that the halfway house stay is about 6 months. He should probably tell his counselor that he wants transitional release into a halfway house, so that this acceptance process can start now.
Can he? Sure - nothing's stopping him. But it won't do any good unless he gets his sentence modified, and if that wasn't discussed prior to his original sentencing, good luck doing it now.
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It needs to be part of a sentencing modification. Likely, they won't approve it now because his release date is in 10 months.
Seth Weinstein, Esq.
Practicing throughout Southern California
This reply should NOT be considered a legal opinion of your case / inquiry. At this time I do not have sufficient factual/legal documentation to give a complete answer to your question and there may be more to the issues you raised then I have set out in my brief reply.