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. Frangible

    If it's such a minor nonviolent crime why are they in prison in the first place? Just flog them in public a couple times and move on.

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

      Agreed! or make do 250 laps around a large track facility

      September 14, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • pmn

      More than that...put them on the chain gang and instill hard labor. Make it not so cushy so they would not want to ever return to prison.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • El Duderino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing)

      I support flogging as well. California spends nearly $45,000 per annum for every inmate. Flogging can be done for free.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • flyonthewall

      really.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Travis

    You know what's funny? Article aside, the picture at the top looks EXACTLY like how we were 'housed' while were at Naval Base Ventura and at Ft. Bliss while were training to go to Iraq! LOL! Good times!

    September 14, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bill

    I love this picture its clearly the middle of the day and they are all laying around! They should be out breaking rocks (or building new prisons!)

    September 14, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. JJ

    Um – How come it's just the women? WHy not men too? (By the way I am a woman writing this)

    September 14, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • mask2697

      the male and female prisoners are sent to different prisons for obvious reasons, so the program is for the female prisons, this may go for male prisons to, there are no mixed gender prisons in America...

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

      I get that it is only offered to the female prisons and that there are no co-ed prisons. But WHY is it only offered to the female prisons. I have seen posts on here saying what if these were your mothers, daughters, sisters... well what about the fathers, sons and brothers??

      September 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. steven

    send all the prisoners to work in iraq and afghanistan

    September 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Denise

    How can such a policy be so discriminatory towards men? Could they not find one or two men who would qualify under these policy provisions? Are not familial ties for men significant in their rehabilitation efforts or recidivism rates too?

    September 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Douglasson

    WAYS TO REDUCE PRISON POPULATION/OVERCROWDING:

    September 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Douglasson

    WAYS TO REDUCE PRISON OVERCROWDING: Make it an UNPLEASANT place to live: no cable, no internet, no phone use, only TV is to watch teaching/inspirational/educational videos, only books are learning/inspirational, doing a constructive job to help public good to earn early release time, BASIC nutritional meal w/ very little variety, more isolation time, smaller private cells. PLUS this would bring down the cost of housing these lawbreakers. It costs more to keep them in jail than on welfare. Make jail a bad place to be!!! Now it's nicer than most of the poor's home life. And the poor get poorer because we're spending more money punishing than helping people.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Douglasson

    WANT TO REDUCE PRISON OVERCROWDING: Make it an UNPLEASANT place to live: no cable, no internet, no phone use, only TV is to watch teaching/inspirational/educational videos, only books are learning/inspirational, doing a constructive job to help public good to earn early release time, BASIC nutritional meal w/ very little variety, more isolation time, smaller private cells. PLUS this would bring down the cost of housing these lawbreakers. It costs more to keep them in jail than on welfare. Make jail a bad place to be!!! Now it's nicer than most of the poor's home life. And the poor get poorer because we're spending more money punishing than helping people.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tony C

    just have to say the two things i hate when i go out to eat is when our waiter or waitress doesnt hang us the food and when the soda doesnt taste the way it should. those are my pet peeves what are some of your?

    September 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BenBreeg

    Yo can't call it other way than discrimination. Why only females? There is no non-violent male criminals who are fathers?

    September 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ape Lincoln

    It is so easy to judge someone who in your eye's, and the self giving riotous power to say these women belong in jail. Please they are not criminals and should have never been locked up in the first place.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      If you commited a crime....that makes you a criminal......just saying

      September 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. James

    Floggins sounds good.......televised battles to the death could work...........deportation sounds fun..........replacing animals in testing labs could be an option..............airdropping them into other countries would be a way to get rid of them.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Reggie

    We are talking Prison not the Ramada Inn! Create a Prison that makes since. A place that is unlivable, basic, and plenty of work to be done. A place where people get out they would die before they go back. No doctors, nurses, and the only food to be had is what they grow. ZERO cost type Prison, that actually brings in money to the state.
    Yakity yak, don't come back!

    September 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. morganstern

    Hey i agree that when a person commits a crime they should pay – hence Al-Qaeda has every right in the world to come back at the usa for a PART II punishment for committing crimes against the muslim world.. right?? 🙂

    You say flog em.... we say burn their towers and watch them fall like rice crispies!!! Usa sucks and you guys know it.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
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