California may send thousands of female prisoners home
Male prisoners are housed in a gymnasium in California's Chino State Prison last December. The state is under federal order to reduce prison crowding.
September 13th, 2011
12:23 PM ET

California may send thousands of female prisoners home

Thousands of women inmates from California prisons could soon be released to be reunited with their families under a program the state began implementing on Monday.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said offenders whose crimes were nonviolent, nonserious and not sexual, with less than two years remaining on their sentences, are eligible for the Alternative Custody Program, which was signed into law in 2010 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Approximately two-thirds of CDCR’s female inmates are mothers whose children are either with relatives or are in foster care,” CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said in a press release. “ACP is a step in breaking the intergenerational cycle of incarceration, as family involvement is one of the biggest indicators of an inmate’s rehabilitation.”

About 45% of the state's 10,000 female inmates may be eligible for the program, the CDCR said. It may be made available to male inmates in the future, the department said.

Those admitted to the program will wear electronic monitors and be supervised by a parole agent, the CDCR said. They can serve their remaining time at home or in a residential substance-abuse or transitional-care facility, according to the agency.

The prisoners will be allowed to find jobs or attend classes during their release, the department said.

The state of California should save about $6 million a year under the program, the CDCR estimated.

California is under federal pressure to reduce inmate populations. The Supreme Court this summer upheld a lower court ruling that medical and mental health care for inmates in the state prison system falls below the level required by the Constitution.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in April a plan to reduce prison crowding by moving 33,000 low-level offenders to county jails. But the state is cash-strapped, and funding for that plan, estimated at $460 million in the first year, must be approved by voters in November.

California has the nation's largest prison system.

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Filed under: California • Courts • Justice • Prisons
soundoff (713 Responses)
  1. RUFFNUTT

    SEND over to my trailer.. i'll watch em..

    September 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chris

    Legalize drugs and that should remove a good 80%

    September 13, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sunflower

      BINGO!!!

      September 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      I don't know about a straight out legalization but we need a better way of dealing with this. Prison costs to much for this.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RUFFNUTT

    @chris.. just legalize weed.. rest can stay illegal.. crack is whack..
    .
    weed never hurt anyone, plus it stimulates the economy, people get the muncies and buy food..

    September 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • common dense

      I agree with legalizing drugs, however I'm skeptical of your second proposition.

      If they eat too much junk food, we'll have a bunch of fat high people. I'm not sure if that's going to be good for the economy

      September 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg S

      I doubt many were in prison just for smoking weed. It is likely that many were doing harder drugs. I am worried about letting these women around their kids again - drug-addicted mothers are not what their kids need back in their lives.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DJR

    That's a positive thing. Jail is not a resolve, or even a solution. Unfortunately under Obama they will find very little to do to support themselves.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer (the other one)

      Yes, turning them loose to screw up their kids' lives AGAIN is a great thing for society...

      September 14, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      How is that Obama's fault? Can't the Free Market fix itself? After all, companies pay less in taxes now than the booming 90s', so how is it Obama's fault?

      September 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Name*eileen

    this is a really touching subject. i am happy Gov. Schwarzzenager did this. i am so glad that he is the governor. i always approved of him. another hero. yay for ARNOLD.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • WagTheDog

      Sorry to be the one to tell you, but he's no longer the governor.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. scott

    thats the problem there are to many people in the prison system for minor crimes the deal is you just need to find the right ones that have good shot to make it out there

    September 13, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Yeah Right

    If they are nonviolent etc why even put them in jail in the first place? There are better things to have them do besides sit in a cell like a caged animal.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Do you realize what an industry housing inmates is? Search GEO group they build and manage prisons nation wide (they are the McDonald of prisons).

      September 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Because of all the people who want to give people the needle for everything. They wrongly assume that everyone who goes to jail or prison is inherently evil.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    Send the women home, 70% will probably end up back there anyway.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. theprivateman

    Why not do the same for men? Oh, right, that would represent gender equality.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Burbank

    Send them to Mexico to replace all the people that left.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. hongrn

    "The prisoners will be allowed to find jobs". Really? Which ones? The ones that Obama created that didn't require a background check?

    September 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John B

    Look....4500 more unemployed.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mike from iowa

    Legalize Marijuana. Richard Nixon's own board reccomended not to use the criminal code to regulate Marijuana. That will reduce taxpayer expense on prison and wars, eliminate needless drug wars and murders and KGB-like prison sentences, and will provide THE FREEDOMS FOR WHICH OUR FOUNDING FATHERS ESTABLISHED THIS DEMOCRACY. Then, imprison the politicians whose cirminal negligence created a $15 TRILLION dollar debt.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Burbank

    And in this economy, just how are they going to get jobs? That's all we need, more drug addicted, criminal, irresponsible breeding machines on the loose!

    September 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      You're an idiot. You do realize you were paying for them to be housed in the prison anyway, right? Seriously, open your eyes and stop spewing off nonsense about people on welfare.

      September 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 1dumbpeasant

    and just where are they gonna find a job?

    September 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
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