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. cordero

    will they give the same oppurtunities to males as long as they fit the same criteria.

    September 14, 2011 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Babbs

      Can you read? It mentions that exact issue in the article! If you aren't going to read the whole article why do you bother posting?

      September 14, 2011 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      The article doesn't say..... It says they MAY add males. Cordero's question is fair.
      It appears you can't discriminate against women caregivers in the job market but you can apparently discriminate against male caregivers in prison. Just another case of female privilege.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Dirk Waldon

      If the State gave that republican Patty Hearst a new life and her voting rights back, everybody else should be given the same.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Thomas


      I bet you are feeling pretty embarrassed right about now.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • MrSmooth

      Babbs is correct, the article does state that it may be offered to male inmates in the future.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • vr13

      Brian and Thomas, Babbs is correct. The article has an answer to the question. It may be in the form of MAY rather than will but if this is what the information is as of today, that's what the answer is. Not sure what other answer you are trying to squeeze out of the article.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • xwhite

      @ Brian...Just another case of female privelage. Unbelievable. As far as I am concerned you can discriminate against anyone in prison, whether they be female or male. They are in prison for a reason and they have lost their rights. Please don't try to start a Men's Rights Movement. Let it rest with the female/male b.s.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I am simply pointing out that when women are released and men are not based on the same criteria they are given a special privilege. Regardless of if either deserves it or not you can not argue they are receiving a female privilege. I am not trying to start a men's movement with these comments but rather stating the facts. I am not worried about men's status or a men's movement because history has proven time and time again that when enough men become too frustrated or downtrodden, the government changes. Do you remember reading recently about Arab spring for example?

      September 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ian C.

    The area of concern here is that Federal statistics repeatedly show that child abuse is by far the domain of mothers, and not biological fathers. If children are to be given the option of having a parent released from jail for parenting purposes, it follows that the choice would be best if it was fathers who were released, not mothers. The mainstream media dumbs down intelligence for purposes of control and manipulation. Please do not fall for this. Federal statistics also show that single parent families headed by a father, outperform those headed by a mother.

    September 14, 2011 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Thanks for bringing that up. Very few people know or understand that. I have never seen or read anywhere of a man driving his car full of kids into a lake.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
    • unowhoitsme

      TO MATT: Yes, the fathers don't drive them into the lake, they just take a gun and shoot everyone in the family.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • haus

      right on ! – that's because dads are more fun and know how to treat their kids.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Kamber

      That is because the fathers who do not want to parent just walk out and leave the mothers to handle the kids on their own. Men are statistically more likely to not be involved in their childrens' lives. That adds more stress on to the mothers and because of that women are more likely to take that out on their children. I am not saying it is right I am just saying you need to look at all sides. If they let the fathers out of prison how many of them will be actively involved in the lives of their kids?

      September 14, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Albro

    The flaw in the reasoning is the idea that "family invovement" will somehow prevent the children from being like the parents. So by that resoning, spending more time with criminals makes one LESS LIKELY to be a criminal? Isnt that exactly the opposite reasoning from those against sending juveniles to jail: that exposure to criminals makes them MORE LIKELY to become criminals? Or is this all just awarm & fuzzy 'box' with a quick money-saving scheme inside, from a state that's just bout bankrupt?

    September 14, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • hb123

      It actually says that the family involvement is beneficial to the rehabilitation of the inmate. As in the one already incarcerated. Spending time with a "criminal" does not make you a criminal. Did you know that its not contagious? But they are right. Family involvement lessens the chance of the inmate reoffending. It is actually the number one indicator of whether someone will reoffend – whether or not they have a strong family connection. Kids with parents in prison are more likely to end up in prison themselves; however, if the parent is out of prison and with the family (providing they aren't selling crack right there), it does lessen the chance of the children going the same direction.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Keith

    and they will be back within 6 months....

    September 14, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. JMissal

    So let me get this straight....not only will downloading more children into this world get you government (read taxpayer) assistance, but it also will serve as a reason to get out of prison before you've paid your dues?!?!

    Somewhere along the line, this society got its priorities very backwards.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr.Limon

      "download" is your term for having kids? Fricken smartguy.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      I know it politicly incorrect, but I think it is time to start sterilizing people who are having child after child when they are chronic drug users. My daughter's husband has a brother who has 2 children both of whom are being raised by other family members. As for welfare, if it was cut everytime a new child entered the family, I bet the birth rate for that group would drop. It is time we start taking care of our children and a part of that is preventing them from being born in situations that will end up with them being abused or neglected.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. Andrew

    More unequal treatment of offenders based on gender. That's liberalism for you. You'd think liberals never heard the statistic that mothers (and I'm guessing female prisoners fit this criteria) are the overwhelming abusers of children. This is CNNs shtick, females and minorities are all victims of the patriarchal white system as far as CNN is concerned. Its hatred of the traditional, that's CNN.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Luek

      Great point Andrew. I am surprised the State of California would actually use a law signed in by that loser weight lifter.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Bibi5

      Wow, so this is all CNN's fault? Thanks for clarifying that for us. Did you actually read the entire story or just so afraid that women are getting treated better than you, that you had to blame someone? The prison system is so overloaded that they cannot provide proper medical and mental health care–that is why they need to reduce the population. Perhaps you think that releasing Charles Manson and Scott Peterson would make things "fair"?

      September 14, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • CosmicC

      Actually, that's much more of a conservative thing. Liberals are much more likely to treat genders equally.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. gotthumbs

    I guess in California, the phrase "Dont do the crime if you can't do the time' does not apply. California has low expectations for its criminals and wants to release them onto the rest of America. I would be fine if there is a guarantee that these convicted criminals CANNOT leave California. This goes for the future release of Male prisoners.

    As far as I'm concerned, California can do whatever they want....just as long as they keep it to themselves and don't expect me to help them.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. Larry

    How many are illegals ? That is the main reason California is bankrupt. And just where are these released going to work? Ship the illegal prisoners back to Mexico and let them pay for them.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr.Limon

      BRILLIANCE! .......Larry ,Im gonna go out on a limb and say that you probably have zero facts to backup your argument ,nor are you interested in learning them. If we should deport anyone ,it should be the mean and feebleminded
      jerks like yourself who have nothing but hate to contribute to an already rancorous society.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      They won't work, they will get Gov handouts. Another why the state of CA is broke.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Pat

    Shouldn't men also be released ? It is shameful for Israel to threaten Palestine if they seek statehood and like wise for the US to pressures other nations not to support Palestine. How can a democratic system be respected when a handful of nations can prevent the 140 nations who support Palestine for statehood and becoming a member of the UN be prevented from doing so. Let hope justice and the vales of freedom will prevail.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • CosmicC

      That's right on point. I wholeheartedly agree that baleen and toothed whales diverged from a common ancester in the Oligocene era.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • APK

      CosmicC –

      That is the funniest post of this entire thread. Well done, sir.

      September 14, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. unowhoitsme

    How about PREVENTION? It is cheaper to education a person to prevent them from ever entering a prison. Mandate learning a trade.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • CP

      Education WAS provided – it is called K-12 FREE Public education. But what you seem to be saying is that even then, we (society – taxpayers) still OWE this folks a continued free ride. It is thinking like this that has caused the financial mess this country's in.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • CosmicC

      I agree. As a society we're more interested (as measured by spending) in fixing something after it's broken than in preventing it from getting broken in the first place. CP – There is a clear correlation between quality of education and crime. There's also plenty of evidence that the cost of increasing the quality of education is offset by savings to society (less crime is only one aspect). However, in a society where it's easier to blame a teacher for earning a decent living than yourself for not finishing high school, well, uneducated people make uneducated decisions.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    Just a huge example of how corrupt our justice system, really is.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • CosmicC

      While the justice system may be corrupt, I fail to see how this proves it. It does prove that we, as a society, are unwilling to fund ANYTHING, but are willing to complain about the lack of the services that funding would have provided (yes, "fund" means taxes, how do you think government services are paid for?).

      September 14, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. down wit it in MI

    Great's about time. Michigan needs to jump on da bandwagon!

    September 14, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. Diane

    This prgram is worth a try. Putting people in prison is certainly not working. The financial burden on states is enormous. As far as the family involvement is concerned, well that depends on the family. If it will help then let them participate, if not keep them out of it.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  14. JJ

    Just legalize drugs and release all drug offenders. That would save the state a zillion dollars a year.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. saopaco

    If the crime was "nonserious", then why are these women incarcerated in the first place? Additionally, just letting the ladies out is rude. Equal time for equal crime?

    September 14, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
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