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. CP

    "California has the nation's largest prison system."

    California has the largest population of the 50 states. The states with the highest incarceration rates are Louisiana, Georgia, and Texas. California is 23rd in the per captia list.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      California also has the largest illegal immigrant problem.


      But doubtful.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pogo101

    Go the cheapest route. Compare in prison vs welfare. Article says they'll be allowed to find jobs... What a joke. Taxpayers will be footing the bill for the women and all the kids who don't know who their daddy is.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Ventura

      Amen to that!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      We (taxpayers) are already footing the bill for them whilst in prison... How about voicing a viable solution, rather than reducing one's self to remaining the worthless critic and problem. God knows there are enough of those running around... a dime a dozen.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bob

    Its always been in US history and even today that only fairer section receives the best cusion.. either women in general or privileged race..

    The so called Liberty with blindfolded eyes or the equal justice is just in books not in reality.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • William

      Sorry Bub, but you are wrong. Women regularly get stiffer sentences for the same crimes as men and are exploited far more often by prison guards than are men. They also do a lot more work around the house and work for lower wages at the same jobs as men. So you are clearly an ignorant, biased, misogynist who never bothered to learn the facts before you spouted off. Also, American prisons do way less than nothing to rehabilitate inmates and the public stupidly cheers when they hear that inmates are abused. What on earth do you expect of people when they do get out of prison. I personally know a young woman who was driven out of her church in Watertown, Wisconsin, because she had been in prison for writing bad checks. The stories she told of what went on in prision would burn most peoples ears, and she was not smart enough to make anything up. American Christian conservatives, who are behind most prison industries, are for the most part hypocritical jokes and joyless at that!.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • sbast18

      William, I can only conclude that you're attempting to enter into a new relationship with a rather fiesty woman and that you're desperately trying to get some. Women hardly endure sentences as that are as harsh as their male counterparts. In fact, the judicial system has been incredibly biased for years. As for your examples, men encounter the same difficulties. And while it may be true that women do a lot more work around the house at your place, I sit here scratching my head, wondering what in heck that has to do with the report. Get a grip.

      September 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • MashaSobaka

      Sorry, sbast18, but the facts are on William's side. And next time, leave the whole "feisty woman" comment out of it, all right? It makes it very hard for educated folks to take you seriously when you pull that crap and I *really* want to be able to treat my fellow human beings with respect.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Debbie

    I actually think this is positive, however if the person who has committed the crime is willing to be rehabilitated. People who committ crimes are not bad people, they made bad choices. For example, If I am a drug addict and the mental health and alcohol and drug system has failed me and therefore I am sent to prison for possession, I would jump at this opportunity....especially if it meant staying clean and sober and being a productive member of society. I know people who have been crime/prison and drug free for 20 plus years. There testimonies are so powerful! It doesn't happen every day but miracles do happen and we can't give up hope!

    September 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Amina 123

    To those of you who think that we pay for EVERYTHING for prisoners, think again. I very recently got a wake up call about how federal prisons work, and let me tell you, it is disgusting. First of all, yes we pay for the basics: Food, shelter, and security. The prisoners pay exhorbitant amounts for things like laundry detergent (a medium sized box of Tide runs them almost $12.00), personal hygiene kits ( a small tube of toothpaste, a half stick of deodorant, a toothbrush, and comb) cost about $6.00, and phone cards to call home are charged near 15 cents per minute. Now, if a prisoner is lucky enough to get a job in the kitchen, then they can make a whopping 19 cents per day...which equals $5.70 a month. Some jobs pay a little more. If the prisoner is paying child support, they don't see that goes toward their child. If they have supportive family on the outside, then they can put money on their books to help pay for their necessities. If not, then they hustle on the inside for those things. When I found out about this, I was enraged. Why does a free working man get to pay less for necessities while a prisoner who is unable to earn money have to pay outrageous amounts for things? That is the reason they become better criminals on the inside: They have nothing to do all day long but work out and figure out a way to hustle up a cup of laundry soap.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJB

      Here's an idea. Don't commit crimes-don't go to jail. We shouldn't be paying anything to support criminals! It makes me sick that you feel sorry for these people! I've made a choice not to commit crimes therefore I can go to the grocery store and buy these things for what they cost!

      September 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • corey dealin

      so true

      September 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Idiots

      Armeni, you are an idiot.
      These women are personality disordered. They are on axis 2 and the only other diagnosis on axis 2 is mental retardation. Personality disorders are emotionally retarded. Throw all the services you can to them and they will not change or learn unless they have consiquences. They have no INSIGHT. They are concrete, consiquences are all they understand. Your tax money is wasted CONSTANTLY giving them section 8, welfare, therapy, disability, and on and on it goes while they have personality disordered children- who you all pay for in taxes. They are a lost cause.

      September 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • GrandOldPatsy

      You can a) Pay 10x the cost of their crime caring for them or b) Save that taxpayer money and spend it on things to improve our society so that crime will be less prevalent.

      Which makes more sense? And on another note, if you want to support criminals locked up by buying them pepsi and phone cards, do it with your own money, and leave my tax money alone. It can be spent on better things, like cruise missiles and exorbitant all-inclusive healthcare for our elected representatives.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amina 123

      I am an idiot...yet your username is Idiots. How is that working out for you?

      Okay, just for a second, imagine this: Why Tide? Why Colgate? Why give all of the money back to these companies when you could give them a government brand of laundry soap or toothpaste? Then, the money that is made off of the sales would go right back into the prison would be kind of self sustaining. Those of you crying about tax payers money and government subsidized's not going away anytime soon, so suck it up. We are all suffering from those who milk the system. What happened to the days when prisoners used to perform hard labor for the State? Laying concrete, making license plates, landscaping around highways...pretty much free labor right there. Tell me that wouldn't cut taxpayers costs.

      September 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amina 123

      CJB: Not one place in my statement did I say I felt "sorry" for those people. They did the crime, they do their time. What I feel absolutely DISGUSTED about is the prices they pay for things. The money goes back to the now Johnson and Johnson are now profiting off of the prison systems. If your family doesn't send you $12.00 a month for laundry soap, you won't go very long with dirty underwear before you figure out a way to hustle that out of someone.

      September 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mtazman

    Gender discrimination by the states is nothing new. It is a leading cause of domestic violence.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. citizenUSA

    Mmmmm... Just released ex-con s*x...

    September 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. joe

    "family involvement is one of the biggest indicators of an inmate’s rehabilitation.”
    The other indicator is drug addiction, & yet another is being a criminal... California has to be the stupidest state in the union.

    September 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MIKE

    Lets see if I understand this I can commit a crime and then be sent home with a slap on the wrist-NOW WHERE IS THE DETERRENT TO STOP CRIME-PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY DO BECAUSE OF WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM PLAIN AND SIMPLE

    September 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. WillH85

    And there's gender equality for you. Bet the feminazis won't be saying anything bad about this program, though.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alexis

      1. It's feminists. and 2. What is so bad about letting people that have done nonviolent crimes live out their sentence at home? It saves people money, would put more people at work that are parole officers, and would give mothers a chance to be with their children. I do think it would be good if they did open this to males too, but in this situation they are testing to see how this is going to work. It's more like gender guinea pigs.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ela

      Alexis, how do you figure that this will be saving tax payers any money? Yes, this article says “The state of California should save about $6 million a year under the program”. But how much do you think it will cost tax payers per year to pay for the rent, food, and utilities for the 4500 newly released unemployable criminals? And, I’m sure they will all be applying for government grants for school, which allows for a max of 5000.00 per year. My calculations say this will cost tax payers more to allow them back into society before they have paid for their crimes.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Wondering

    They will be out on welfare and living it up. Having more kids to get more is a good racket for a lot of people.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • TOYCAR

      I so agree. This program is to try to save the State money and nothing else. The women being on welfare must cost them less than keeping them in prison.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MikeNews

    Gender discrimination!

    September 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ann wilson

    It is true that many of the women in prison have mental illnesses. Bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and mild schziophrenia affect a large portion of our prison population male and female. The humane thing ito do is to see that
    these people get help for their mental illnesses. Mental illness is proof positive that all men are NOT created equal! And
    yes, many of these illnesses are hereditary. Our society sweeps mental illness under the rug. Most people are
    very ignorant about mental illness and how prevalent it is. Symptoms of serious mental illness should be taught
    in the senior year of high school, as well as the latest treatments for them. With some self-awareness, mentally
    ill people can do much better.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Alexis

    I think this is a good idea. As lons long as it's nonviolent crimes it is all good with me.

    September 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    Like our courts were already completely biased against men in favor of women... we have to create programs to let female criminals out of prison just cause they're women. I mean, can they be any more discriminatory?

    September 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
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