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. Ed Sr

    From the looks of the photo it appears that California has a clean facility at this one wherever it is as opposed to some photos I have seen inside facilities in Arizona and Mississippi.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kake79

    Couldn't a male inmate sue for gender discrimination now that female prisoners are basically being subjected to a different set of law/punishments?

    September 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • blkdrgn

      probably true in today's time but IMO they gave up all those rights when they broke the law

      September 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheMovieFan

      I was wondering about that.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • casselli

      Sure, when they start having babies. I assume.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. "we" aren't paying for squat

    Uncle Sam borrows from other countries to pay for this sh!t. You spent all your money on luxuries that you could not afford, but just had to have them. You hocked your own childrens future so that you could afford to be obese and drive a nice car...live in a house twice as big as what you needed. get a clue you crybabies.

    September 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Butt ugly women

    Look at the photos of these women. They have got to be the butt-ugliest group of American women ever assymbled. (not counting wal-mart shoppers)

    September 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheMovieFan

      The caption under the photo states that they are guys.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Thereisnogod

    I really really hope that the criminals that are released and decide to return to a life of crime (which is the majority), go and commit crimes against Tea Baggers. Only then will they see that it is not a good idea to under fund education, health services and social services in favor of tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheMovieFan

      They won't see that. They'll only complain about liberal judges and somehow blame Democrats.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dagobert II

      I hope you are correct, 'cause most Tea Baggers I know will shoot these folks should they be so foolish as to attempt a crime against them thus relieving us all of a burden.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sheila

    First, inmates should serve their complete sentence inside a jail facility. If the sentences are too harsh, change the laws. Second, where is the ACLU when the male prisoners need them? All you need is a uterus to be considered for this release program – how in the world is that equitable treatment under the law? That's like saying only people under 5'6", or only people with red hair... genetics cannot be the determining factor.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • FK

      or how about a deserving person without a useless child? Why are just breeders only considered worthy of early release?

      September 13, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. marc

    Great just what we need even more people that will be unemployed.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dmoney

      Unemployed? Do you think that will cost less than incarceration???

      September 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. FK

    so... if you were responsible and did not get knocked up with a useless child you get to rot?!? How the hell does this make sense! If the individual has earned an early release then release them, regardless if they have children or not.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Guitarken

    Jail is no life. I was there for a few weeks for arguing, yes arguing with my ex. It's horrible and NO ONE wants to go back unless they are homeless. You can't possibly imagine how bad it is until you've been there.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sandy

    I'm now 65 yrs old.Smoked Pot for thirty years. Never ever saw a person on Pot get angry. There are some that need to smoke it, and let the booze alone.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • the real john

      pots not the problem in cali. you basically get a civil ticket for 94 dollars and sent home.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. robert hoffmann

    I don't care what any of you think about anything. what do you think of that?

    September 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dan Da Man

    demo-tard druggie jerry brown knows how to save money don't he? let all of felons free on the street again.lawyers repeat the defense over and over, ca sux.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chazbo

    I think if the women prisoners want longer handles on their brooms we should give them to them.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. phunky4

    How is this going to help the communities these women are returning to. What jobs will be waiting for them, so they don't have to commit crimes again.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. LibertyQueen

    Women are typically given harsher sentences for non-violent crimes than males, so quit your sniveling that women inmates are being given preferential treatment. Furthermore, women are paid only 60% to 70% of what a male makes doing the SAME WORK. How's that for discrimination.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam I Am

      Women are not worth hiring. They are too lazy and as soon as they get their time in they start having babies so the men have to work twice as much for zero increase in pay.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
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