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. Coyle

    Makes sense, welfare is probably a lot cheaper than keeping them in jail.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sagebrush Shorty

    Have to save money so that California can continue to pay the illegal immigrants tuition and health care.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buck

      WELL SOMEBODY HAS TO PAY FOR US WE ARE STILL HUMAN BEINGS. Ever since I came to this country I have job and they say I dont have to pay taxes cuz I get paid in cash and I just go to emergency room for free health care. I love America.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Name*Bucktooth

    If supervision is really there then fine! There are a lot of possibly productive people, and over-sentenced people sitting in Prison! The real criminals are the heads of Gov't and above!

    September 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • JustHaveAnOpinion

      Right Bucktooth!

      September 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeasayer

      The oversentencing part is true.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Wasted1

    They must need to set aside a revolving room for Lindsay.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tracy

      Hahaha, good one!

      September 13, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Curtis

    So, these children do not have Fathers, or? Just female prisoners, huh? Yes, let's let the female PRISONERS out because their children need them to teach them how to be good people. I say it's a losing solution either way, but what about the men?

    The people who put this story together were keenly aware of this point, as they used a picture of a male prison and male prisoners. Was this because they were not allowed to discuss the gender inequality going on in this story/directive. Or was it because they hate men, and just wanted to rub our noses in it?

    Please, CNN staff member, let us know.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chris

    that's fine. there should be a stipulation that they can never leave that liberal stink hole california.

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

    cause the dating scene in LA just wasn't sketch enough

    September 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GBanger

    Are any of them Fu_kable??

    September 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob in LG

      Your Mom and sister were when they were in prison.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. plaztikjezuz

    What is funny is the photo for this story the inmates are men.
    The program only applies to women, so mark this up as a loss, to whom ever photo edited this piece.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob in LG

      For the "editors" it is the middle of the night in Hyderabad.

      September 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeasayer

      The point of the photo is to illustrate that prisons are so overcrowded that inmates are being housed in a gymnasium. Did you bother to read the article, or are you just unable to put that together?

      September 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Wasted1

    An end to marijuana prohibition would dramatically improve our focus on real trouble - and cripple the underground economy. It's outrageous that people are criminalized for smoking something that is much less harmful than tobacco. We need to focus on the crack, the crank and the pill pushers. We're losing the "war" because we fight the wrong battle. It can be grown domestically. The cartels would lose. Those that choose to use would. Those that didn't wouldn't. Just like alcohol. But it actually has many benefits. Of course, we can always deny science, wreck more lives and build more prisons.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeasayer

      In my city marijuana possession is a summary offense. The intake process is just too costly. People are required to watch a drug abuse video, pay a fine, and their records are expunged. All the city really needs is the money. Also, electronic monitoring and supervision is in effect in many jurisdictions. It's called house arrest. California needs to get more realistic.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Les

      Republicans. Sorry. 8>/

      September 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bob in LG

    "California has the nation's largest prison system." I wonder if that is because it has the largest population.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tired of it

    Women are just like the mentally retarded. Not much they can't get away with.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. amobius

    What is the estimated cost of adding 4500 more people to the welfare dole?

    September 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeasayer

      Less than the cost of housing them with 24 hour guards. People aren't eligible for house arrest unless they have a residence to serve their sentence in. That will significantly cut back on the state's costs.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Les

      There is no such thing as "welfare". It is called public assistance. A much worthier cause to spend taxpayer money on than say the oil & gas industry which gets BILLIONS of your taxes in grants and subsidies every year. Billions more is given in subsidies to agri-business so they won't grow certain crops. 100s of times more than is given to those that cannot or will not take care of themselves. Corporate welfare is a crime. Unfortunately, the Republics are the first to declare how awful :welfare: is for private persons while fighting to be first in line to greedily suck up corporate welfare.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Les

      Ooops....Republicans. (sigh)

      September 13, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TonyG

    Wow... let only the women out? If I had a male loved one in prison I would sue the state for discrimination.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. INCA

    Find jobs?? LMAO! With all the unemployed in California, I'm sure people will be rushing to hire an ex-con

    September 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
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