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. Mary

    If these people have all done non-violent things why are they in jail in the first place. A lot of lives destroyed for nothing.

    September 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Mary, do you think embezzling 100,000 dollars is acceptable because it is non-violent?

      September 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • GlockG20

      There are better ways than incarcerating non-violent criminals. But apparently we as an intelligent species haven't figured that out yet.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darla Anderson Anderson

      Mary, my husband is a firefighter inmate. He has an addiction to alcohol. Except for being a father rather than a mother, this applies to him. He is serving time for a DUI in which no one was hurt, nor was he violent. He has been to prison more than once for a DUI, though in the past he was single and had no family. No judge ever ordered an interlock ignition device for his vehicle(s). His attorney stopped fighting for him when the money ran out. His DUI occurred two days after our one month anniversary–a combination of being a 3rd generation alcoholic, being dry for over a year, running out of anti-anxiety medication for three days, and a stress build-up, being a new husband, with six minor step-children, two of which had autism, and a newborn child of his own. He has since completely repented of his addiction behavior, and made reconciliation with His Creator. Prison is hell on earth. It is no place for repentant people. It is very dehumanizing, except for the firefighter program. Start advocating for reconciliation of rehabilitated persons, and for prison to be the last resort, not the first resort. California has an overincarceration addiction, which is why the U.S. Supreme Court said enough torture is enough. You gotta let them go. The longer people sit in prisons, the more they come down with communicable diseases. When their time is up, CDCR has got to let these sick people out....Try to get the big picture. A country that tortures its citizens is not a very great country. And, that is what goes on in prisons. Prison turns out people more criminal than when they went in, most often, because they do not rehabilitate people. Instead people have to learn to survive under often the worst conditions.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • j

      Non-violent offenders can be punished other ways, but most of those ways do not appease peoples need to punish others to make themselves feel Superior. If you think non violent offenders belong in prison then you are a small insecure person who is part of the problem not part of the solution.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • paul

      Jack you are right sort of, we can't let theives get away with things also. But we can monitor non-violent through ankle braclett's. We can lower the crime on many offenses. I have a former neighbor spending 10 years in jail for selling 10 pound of pot. We should have done nothing, because it should be legal. That aside though, his non-violent, his crime is victimless, what's wrong with home montioring or short sentence then monitoring.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Giovanni Jones

      Gee, Gov Brown wants to send 33,000 to county jails.It looks like city mayors are going to instruct sherriffs to instruct street officers to ease up on jay walkers,and people with a joint on them; who probably got life sentences, to arrest real criminals for real crimes.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steve

    Lol. I'll lay it out simply. When people drink alcohol in excess, they get crazy, act stupid, drive drunk, and kill people. When people smoke weed, they sit inside, watch T.V. and order a pizza. You tell me which is more hazardous to other people's health

    September 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      Well as long as the pizza man isn't drinking and driving you have a good point!

      September 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darla Anderson Anderson

      You're right. If your argument is for legalization of cannabis, I am in agreement.
      If you want to illegalize alcohol, I got no problem with that.
      But, society has a responsibility for all their putting drinking on every television show and at most parties.
      And, all we have to do is put an interlock ignition device on each vehicle, or at least on every vehicle of anyone convicted of a DUI. There is no reason nor need to send parents and others to prison for a DUI. It can be handled and treated without prison. When my husband was sentenced for a DUI, no one ordered this, and they treated his call for help for his addiction as a ploy to avoid prison, that only an evil person would claim that they had an addiction that they could feel powerless over.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AlongTheWay

    Wait. They might get to go home because they're...mothers? And the men...aren't fathers???? Please. You have Mrs. Bobbit to think on. Or the woman who killed the little girl and STUFFED her in a suitcase. Those are just the first two that come to mind. Want any of those who killed their husbands or boyfriends with drano or poisons to serve you coffee?

    September 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tee

    If men were the only ones eligible the public would have a coniption fit.

    September 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Yeah, folks HATE that equal treatment amendment.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Garth

    The United States has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Anyone else see this as a problem?

    September 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • GlockG20

      Hey! Land of the Free and all!

      That was sarcasm just in case you missed it.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • paul

      99% of statistics are made up on the spot.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. thegadfly

    I would venture to say that MOST prisoners of both genders could be safely released. Locking a person in a cage is a terrible thing, off of which the prison industry is enriching itself. I am not a fool who thinks no one should be imprisoned, but it is done far too much and far too capriciously by a government that is often far more deserving of such a fate.

    September 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. YouReapWhatYouSow

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

    This says it all about Kali residents.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Redwine

      Really??? The nations largers state has the nations largest prision population? You find that Amazing. Perhaps the smallest state has the smallest prison population. Wouldn't that be Amazing.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. equalpunishments

    Geez...women already get sentences half as harsh as men get for the exact same crime.
    Now you want to send them home early. Feminists call this "equality" . Oy Vey!!!

    September 14, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. lroy

    And if this flies for California, it needs to fly for the other 49 states as well.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lroy

    Stop with the pot, I get too buzzed just from eating a lemon poppy seed muffin, which is why I don't eat them. I can't even take Codine because I live alone and have to function. Even three Advils is a lot of medication if I have to drive.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Art

    I like the photo. Except for the wasted space it looks like military housing on a Navy cruiser.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tobygal

    Who knew.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Janet

    Low level, non-violent offenders among female prisoners usually means shoplifters, petty theives who broke in and took less than $200.00 in items, etc. If these women violate parole, they go back to prison since they didn't learn their lesson. Plus, early release like that means an opportunity to straighten up, which many won't.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Guy

    This looks just like the barracks when I was in the Army in 1971. It wasn't too bed then and many of the so called "soldiers" were there to avoid going to jail (they were essentially just like jail inmates).

    September 14, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Shouterguy

    At last, they can "go straight."

    September 14, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
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