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. Rebecca Haley

    This is a great idea! I hope it works out for these people & they find meaningful employment and get their lives back on track.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      They could cut their prison population in half if they extended the same opportunity to the men locked up in Cali. for the exact same crimes.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. boyamidumb

    WOW!!!! 4,500 free women!!! That's great. I usually have to pay for them.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. leeintulsa

    If the crimes are not violent, nonserious, and not s ex ual, why are they in prison to begin with?

    September 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ella

      They must have stolen things.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allison


      September 13, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Burglary, selling drugs to kids, welfare fraud (repeat offenders only), extortion, lots of things.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sam I Am

    The good thing is that there will be no problems for them to be employed. Womeon are born with all the equipment they need to earn a living.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. reality4u

    You're all a bunch of misinformed idiots. They are being released because of idiodic liberal ideas about saving money and treating inmates like humans beings. That's all it is. Not Browns fault, it's the publics fault for believing that these prisoners are humans who deserve to be treated with respect and given all their "rights", special meals, special medical treatment, etc. Let them stay in there, all piled up on each other. Male or female. Quit voting for such liberal treatment as well. Bunch of whiners who vote this crap in, then complain.

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

      Couldn't have said it any better!!!

      September 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Church

    The criminal justice system in this country is a cash cow for cops, bail bondsmen, attorneys, prosecutors, judges, prison guards, parole and probation officers, rehab personnel, etc.
    They are all eager to see you slip up so they can throw the BOOK at you.
    I’ll bet that half those women are in jail for using drugs.
    Innocent until proven guilty is a myth.
    Speedy trial, Hah! There are millions of people in hellhole detention centers across the U.S. who can’t afford bail money. Some sit there for months or years (California, NY) before they are given a court date. Many plead guilty just to get out of there.
    Compassionate conservatives – What a joke!

    September 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Church, your so uninformed. The prison guards?! You really think they have a say in who goes to prison? Sound like a bunch of the whiners that are locked up... I didn't do nothin' wrong, my buddy snitched me out is all.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. K Walker

    This is only fare. If we let the bankers and Wall Street get regulate themselves, all criminals should be given the same trust to regulate themselves. Republicans have "proven" regulations are un-American.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Medical Marijuanna brownies

    Smoking anything is hazardous to your health. Dr's would prescribe marijuanna brownies, but potheads can't afford them. So they are prescribed what they can afford, smokeable MJ. (it takes 10 times the MJ to make a brownie giving you the same "high" of one single joint. And the medicinal properties of MJ brownies are far greater than smoke. Plus they are nutritious. Get a just want to stay high all day and do nothing with your life but wait on your early SS "disabilty" check to arrive to cover your munchies, you lard ass.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. G-O

    Women, who already get a lighter sentence for the same crime, get out early.
    Men get to rot.
    the 14th amendment is a joke

    September 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. HUH?

    More proof that God doesn't exist!

    September 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sameeker

    When do teh men get released?

    September 13, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wayne

    Release them so they will bread, adding hundreds more to the California welfare rolls. Just what a bankrupt welfare state needs.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lourie

    "California May Free 4,500 women"..

    Why? Are pimps laying off too?

    September 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lindy

    The prisoners will be allowed to find jobs
    Good luck with that!

    September 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Medical Marijuanna brownies

    You potheads can't even drive under the influence of medical marijuanna, let-alone pay attention at work. Keep your fat lard ass on the couch and get stoned all day "legally" now. It is still a violation of federal law. If you had anything worth taking, the FBI would take it from you, sell it, and then use the proceeds to prosecute you. But you don't have squat. You are a pothead.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
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