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. Jennifer

    get out.... early...and what contaminate the kids life even more. These people need to be taught a trade or something, before they are put back out there, to mooch and steal, and get depressed in the first place and do drugs. If they are not taught and educated, then they will get out, and be in the kids life, and ruinf what is left of them. ok. fix the problem the right way....to begin with.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • wayneone

      u right

      September 13, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • wayneone

      Anthoney got OFF so much for women

      September 13, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick O Laas

      Its can go one of two ways, but what they're trying to say is these kids without their mothers can also induce a life of crime, effectively creating a continuous cycle. I think its a fair alternative, they'll be monitored and must work to stay compliant.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer (the other one)

      @Nick – There are worse things than a kid being 'without their mother', and one of them is being raised by (and at the mercy of) a mother who is an irresponsible criminal. Also, are the kids supposed to come with them to these 'transitional living centers'? If not, then it defeats the stated purpose. If so... well, I can't imagine any decent parent wanting their child in that environment.

      September 14, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Alana

      If you had read the article and looked into the program you would see they are going to be monitored, and allowed to find job and/or attend school and training programs. Educate yourself about issues before criticizing.

      September 14, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer (the other one)

      I did read it. Unless monitored means 'supervised 24/7', they'll have plenty of opportunity to screw up their children's lives all over again.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Watch out on Craigslist for bad babysitters now. I'm glad I don't live in that 3rd world state called Califormexico.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
    • ricinsac

      while there should be vocational training in prisons – it isn't adequate – but better get use to it folks, there are no jobs – we have and will continue to have a permanent underclass in the California and the US – we are a war economy and nothing is replacing it = the green energy jobs had hope but now are moving to China – and the Haliburton and other corporations will lobby to maintain the status quo – ten years at wars that will always be with us with consultants and lobbyists ... but we have freedom ....

      September 14, 2011 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. Gary Kidder

    Women are Mothers, Men are fathers, why in the living hell is there a difference......

    September 13, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • freedom44

      Some fathers are much better mothers than the mothers and some mothers are much better fathers than the fathers and some parents shouldn't be parents and .... oh well.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. Filosifer

    Incredible!!! If they said "men" were to be released (but we'll consider women later...maybe), we'd have all kinds of lobbyists yelling foul. The comments about the "mothers' is nothing but whitewash. So the Fed's put pressure on CA to reduce inmates. God forbid they try to minimize crime, instead lets just send them into the community again. It's turning the tide towards all the "good" folks out there to protect yourselves...noone else cares to do it for you anymore...but don't expect a tax break...

    September 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      exactly, that is because women want special rights not equal rights, all minorities feel they have the right to have special rights, it is sick and sad.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cave Johnson

      Not quite "pressure", more like a select group of federal judges decided to micromanage California's prison system
      through an unfunded mandate.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Americans just jail way too many people for stupid minor crimes. We are 5% of the world population yet we house 25% of the world's inmates. Something is wrong there. These women, as well as a huge percentage of the men, should never have been jailed to begin with.

      But to stir the pot: Yes, women deserve special rights, because at the end of the day, it is women who give birth, and carry on full-time jobs. Even if the hubby sticks around, there is not a single case I have ever seen in which the hubby actually took on the full 50% of the work. Yes, women work harder, and therefore deserve special privileges.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer (the other one)

      @Laura – that's a huge oversimplification. Women do not deserve special rights – choosing to have children, and choosing to be more involved than the babydaddy/daddies in the chidren's lives, are choices they made, not things they were forced to do. Having a baby with a man who does less than 50% of the housework, then crying foul when he doesn't do 50% of the childcare either, is just idiotic. What were these women expecting?

      September 14, 2011 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mel

    FBI stastics: Men are more violent and commit more violent crimes than Women. Why the hell would society let out men over women? Just go to the FBI website – the proof is there.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Filosifer

      Mel, stay focused...we're talking about "NON-VIOLENT crimes here. Based on your input, if a man and woman commit the same crime (that used to warrant prison time), the man should get a longer sentence. Heck, lets just put ALL men in prison based on your FBI statistics. Then we'd all be safe, right???

      September 13, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ewewhoo

    Transitional living keeps imnamtes in cusody sort of but gives them a chance at freedom; they've done their time now give them some opportunity to make right and learn s kil to be self sufficient too and unite with family. Not all people locked up are a bad influence...think about that.

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

    Why just the women???? They NOT SPECIAL. More better men aloud out the crazy woman

    September 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. wayneone

    Its NOT ALL MEN women are crazy

    September 13, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. wayneone

    Whast the heck u smoking? thats the ???????????????????????????????? geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    September 14, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. wayneone

    Well tell the stop doing DOPE and All that and kids are waiting for them at homr for yoou arrival. Just keeep the IDIOT away wether its a man or the woman of the house. Lets get alone. Both can tangle they both in FAULT

    September 14, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. Rob_E55

    They also have the most illegal immigrants. Coincidence? I think not.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. Me

    Instead of exclusively releasing female inmates, why not focus more on releasing non-violent inmates of either gender?

    September 14, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jennifer (the other one)

    I know the foster care system leaves a lot to be desired, but where do they get the idea that mothers who committed crimes serious enough to be sentenced to several years in prison are any better? I feel really sorry for the kids being used as lab guinea pigs in this program – they've been jerked around enough by their pathetic excuses for 'parents', and the best thing for them would be freeing them to be adopted into decent families.

    September 14, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. womble

    Well, I'm expecting a lawsuit under the Californian Unruh Civil Rights Act (Discrimination of the basis of gender is illegal.). A class action suit representing 10,000 males inmates should be worth about $1-$10 billion. Whoever came up with this stupid idea is going to cost the state way more than they were hoping to save.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. J19726

    I am a first time offender who was sentenced to four years in a California prison in 93, at the time of my arrest I had no criminal history, I was employed, and in the final stages of becoming employed by a federal security agency. I did my time at the infamous San Quentin and then Vacaville where I was a law clerk. I exited my parole early and have never been back to prison nor am I involved in any criminal activity. The women inmates are receiving special treatment because they are women, plain and simple The legal system is not equal, just ask any male in divorce court. there are many men who deserve the same chance but this will not happen for a while. What happened to equal treatment under the law? ask a black man or poor person.

    As for finding employment it is difficult really difficult to find a job but not impossible a lot of the reasons why felons can not find jobs besides having a felony is the lack of the required education, and the bar is always higher when a felon is trying to gain legal employment. The background checks exclude from employment people who have been to prison, when has a person done enough time?

    For all you get tough on prisoner folks and "they all reoffend folks" I have a good amount of friends who are out of prison and who will never go back, some are college graduates (before prison) but they are your neighbors, pastors, barbers, even electrical engineer don't be so arrogant, it can happen to you. Prison is not supposed to be easy and it is not easy you will either endure, adapt and overcome or you will become a convict which is what keeps the prison system going. If an inmate does not reoffend and never comes back to prison then lots of folks are out of a job thats why they stuffed so many people in prisons in the first place that and because you good folk voted for it, because what would we do with the 30 plus empty prisons and what about the guards, medical assistants, parole officers, internal security, CDC administrators, food service contractor ect.. what about their jobs. Its all a racket, and most you out there have no clue.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Ronald

    Another proof the war on drugs is lost.

    September 14, 2011 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
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