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. Sokman

    It may save the state in prison funding, but how much is this going to cost in welfare and food stamps when these women cant find work?

    September 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guilty Liar

      Its gonna cost a ton, but will be coming out of a different budget so will be ignored.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • CPW

      Ty! thats the firt thing I thought of myself.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • dssdfsa

      Its going to cost a lot less than prison.

      It costs an average of about $47,000 per year to incarcerate an inmate in prison in California.
      Over two-thirds of these costs are for security and inmate health care.
      Since 2000-01, the average annual cost has increased by about $19,500. This includes an increase of $8,300 for inmate health care and $7,100 for security

      And those are old numbers.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • steviemk

      4500 prisoners @ 47000 per year work out to around 212million dollars but according to the article this will only save the state 6million dollars a year.......where's the other 206 million going?

      September 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Well we pay for all of their food in prison, not to mention room and board, healthcare, and everything else. They're not gonna get that much out of foodstamps.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sabrina

    Most of these women are in jail due to drugs.... they shouldn't be there in the first place!!

    September 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guilty Liar

      Really?/, drug crimes shouldnt be punished with prison sentences?? I think they should be.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • notcaseyanthony

      yo yo sabrina, call me crazy, but using, selling, and/or possessing drugs is against the law...i'm just sayin'.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      I agree we need a better way to deal with drugs. Because something is a/the law does not mean it is ok............ Laws can be used to oppress and in many cases that is exactly how they are used!

      September 13, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      A lot of the drug crimes shouldn't be crimes in the first place. We have an odd system of standards where some very damaging addictive drugs such as alcohol and nicotine are perfectly legal, yet we throw people in prison for possessing some weed.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer (the other one)

      No one gets years in jail for simple possession of marijuana. You can argue about whether those doing harder drugs should be in jail or not, but they most definitely SHOULDN'T be raising children, not even their own. We all know what great parents crackheads are...

      September 14, 2011 at 5:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      "Really?/, drug crimes shouldnt be punished with prison sentences?? I think they should be"
      Why? Why do you want to spend a lot of MY money putting people in prison for doing drugs? Or for selling drugs? People are going to do them whether they are legal or not. Making them illegal is MUCH more expensive than legalizing them, and regulating the crap out of them (and TAXING them too!)
      Prohibitionists are idiots...prison is NOT a solution, it just makes user into better criminals, on OUR dime!
      You really want to put more drug users through crime college on an all-expenses paid tuition?

      September 14, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    Right. Women, who already receive shorter sentences for the same crime, and who already are much more often offered a chance to turn witness against their accomplices, now receive yet another gender-based advantage. Keep this one in mind, ladies, when you're telling us how we have every advantage. here is actually quite a list of advantages that you enjoy, that you ignore when it's time to play the victim card.

    BTW, DJR: you really think McCain, or some other republican, would have spent *more* money to create jobs?! What planet is that, that you live on, now?

    September 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allison

      perhaps, but look at the statistics, women are alot less likely to reoffend. Women account for a very small percentage of violent crime. And most unfortunately, these women have to raise their children because 'men' can walk away from family obligations with little repercussions from society, but that same society won't look the other way when a woman does.

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

      where do you live because where I live women repeat crimes just as much as men do. Only difference is the women get a break more often because they can 'sweet talk' their way out of it. Also, 99.999999% of the couples I know that have had a child and seperate, the woman will fight tooth and nail to paint a terrible picture of the father so she can spend the next 18 years sitting at home with her baby collected a monthly check from both the state and her ex-lover and not have anything to worry about financially. So, yeah, statistics might show one thing, but reality is alot of stuff goes on that never gets recorded in a book, on both sides of the gender line.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sokman

    And how many of them will be right back in prison in less than a year for the exact same crime?

    September 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guilty Liar

      Actually most criminals come out as better more educated criminals, so actually their next crimes will be worse

      September 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mike from iowa

    From the 1972 Nixon Commission report:

    Instead we recommend a partial prohibition scheme which we feel has the following benefits:

    Symbolizing a continuing societal discouragement of use;

    Facilitating the deemphasis of marihuana essential to answering dispassionately so many of the unanswered questions;

    Permitting a simultaneous medical, educational, religious, and parental effort to concentrate on reducing irresponsible use and remedying its consequences;

    Removing the criminal stigma and the threat of incarceration from a widespread behavior (possession for personal use) which does not warrant such treatment;

    Relieving the law enforcement community of the responsibility for enforcing a law of questionable utility, and one which they cannot fully enforce, thereby allowing concentration on drug trafficking and crimes against persons and property;

    Relieving the judicial calendar of a large volume of marihuana possession cases which delay the processing of more serious cases; and

    Maximizing the flexibility of future public responses as new information comes to light.

    Read more:

    September 13, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Whome

    Maybe we can ask who didn't commit the crimes and if they say they are innocent both men and women we can let all out.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Santa Claus

    Meanwhile, all the male prisoners are sent to Texas Concentration Camps.

    Gender Equality.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Duke

    Release all the hot women, and leave the ugly ones behind

    September 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guilty Liar

      Maybe they should be sent over seas to pleasure our troops. They can work off their debt to society. One soldier at a time

      September 13, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bazoing

      Their, and your, reproducing is just what scares me!

      September 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ArizonaYankee

    Jerry Brown, the king of Mexifornia strikes again. These women will come back and cost more than they do now... What a bunch of libtard axxholes.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      uhuh, except Brown's part in this was...
      "Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in April a plan to reduce prison crowding by moving 33,000 low-level offenders to county jails"
      and it was Repub Arnie that signed the law for early release.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      LOL, you don't even know who to blame, and you call liberals retards? AAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

      September 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bill

    Family guy's Quagmire says "digity"

    September 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boogie

      actually he say and that's the news from House

      September 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tony Baloney

    Let ALL the cute ones go. Leave the uglies locked up!

    September 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Denver

    We have totally employable people that companies refuse to hire, so how do they expect a bunch of ex-cons to get work?

    Our roadways need attention. Hire them at minimum wage.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mike h.

    The article states they will be able to find jobs. Are you kidding or what ? Im happy for their children let them go home but the money saved will only be spent for their food stamps and unemployment need. No one can survive on $8.00 an hour as a walmart greeter with the cost of living as high as it is. This country is in a terrible mess that we urgently need to fix. Especially without washingtons help. Go hug your kids now when you get out and do whats right.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bazoing

      I am not happy for their children. Parenthood is very difficult, and these bozos could not even stay out of jail. To make it worse they will have more births while they are out. Lets trade sterilization for jail time.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Have you looked into what it costs to keep them incarcerated? It's a lot more than they'll get from all the public programs available. In prison you get a place to live, three meals a day, free healthcare, cable TV, recreational facilities, all 100% on the taxpayer dime. it's probably a higher standard of living than most of these people will have when they get out.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jimbo

    How about we release all non-voilent drug offenders, not just women.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bazoing

      That is the best idea of all. This idea of just women is a looser, but your idea might actually save a lot of money and some misery. However, I am still concerned about the additional neglected babies that will result.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. George

    Good! Too many people in prison in a "free" country!

    September 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bazoing

      I beg your pardon. Are there free countries. Where?

      September 13, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
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