"They actually put themselves in harm's way to save a woman's life," said Vacaville Police Chief Ian Schmutzler.
The woman had been walking her dog along the Alamo Creek bike trail when she was attacked by a stranger and stabbed repeatedly.
The inmate crew was clearing debris nearby and heard her screams.
"She was fighting for her life, so I just ran down there to help her out. And when I got down there I just immediately took him down," said Darnell Armstrong, a member of the inmate work crew.
Armstrong tackled the suspect, 18-year-old Damarco Ross Parker.
Meanwhile, the rest of the crew tried to help the victim who was bleeding profusely.
"I went and grabbed some paper towels from the van because we have a lot of paper towels and clean-up stuff. And I gave them to the victim, so she could tend to her wounds and stop the bleeding," said Davion Howard, also on the inmate crew.
The inmates and the corrections officer who supervises them said they never expected to be in that situation but they're relieved they were there to help.
"Just for us to intervene, what if we weren't there?" wonders William Goins, one of the inmates.
"We could have been nine or 10 different places, but we were at that spot at that time," says corrections officer David Peebles.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, along with the Vacaville Police Department, said the men deserve to be honored. They believe their actions speak volumes about their character.
"Am I surprised by it? Not at all. This is what they've worked for. This is who they are," says Francis Figueira, with the Department of Corrections.
Parker was booked into the Solano County Jail on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon among other things.
The victim was released from the hospital.