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. mm

    This is great – but at this time...? More unskilled people to add to the jobless situation. So you bring them home and most of them will not be able to find a job and those who do will not make enough to take care of themselves and children if they have. So catch 22 situation. Either way the State is going to wind up supporting these women and children.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • IWANTajobnow

      Most non violent defendants are in jail because our system is CORRUPT. not the other way around. If you were perfect you'd be Christ and sorry he has already been here. There is such an imbalance.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. Alex

    This angers me beyond reason.
    These people are in jail for a reason. They are being released because our governance is too corrupt and incompetent too balance a budget despite having huge resources at his disposal, a ridiculously high tax rate, and massive industries in LA and SF.

    September 15, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      What? this has nothing to do with him and everything to do with California, get a clue

      September 15, 2011 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      Don't be so ignorant wait till your in an unreal situation and there handing you ten years for a victimless crime or your son or daughter.people are uninformed read your comments and form a tyrannies opinion which further oppresses American people.please educate yourself

      September 15, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
    • berucem

      most non violent offenders are in jail or prison simply because they cant afford an attorney. i live in a state that will put you in jail over an unpaid speeding ticket

      September 15, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • IWANTajobnow

      Except if they real lawyers rather than PD's they would be out and a large percentage participating in the workforce. Instead they are coerced into pleading no contest or guilty because the PDs either don't want to do the work or they are wannabes that cow tow to The Prosecutors because they really don't want to be PD. The system only works for people that have money those are the people that actually get to properly defend themselves. Of course there are people who have committed violent crimes,serious drug offenses, murder child abuse etc... Child abusers sometimes can't even get convicted or they are give "diversion" programs after beating a child.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Darla Anderson Anderson

      Anger will kill you, so get over it. Try to love for a change. Many people are in prison because they are homeless, mentally ill, or because everything a human naturally does has been illegalized. The only reason you are not there, possibly, is because no one has put the STING on you yet.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      I agree with you. How would the victims or people affected by the inmates' crimes feel about this.. it's also gender discrimination to make this only for women. I'm sure there are a lot of men in this situations too and can be released ...

      Just imagine if this was done only for men inmates .... The world would have turned upside down, to say the least!

      September 15, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joy Lynskey

    Regardless of the comments about the impact on the job rate... this is something that needs to be done in every state. If you think the cost of housing these inmates over probation violations and other petty crimes is phenomenal, imagine how much higher it really is when their children are in foster care and being monitored by social workers etc. The man hours can rack on up. I've seen women in jail for 3 to 5 years for the most TRIVIAL crap and it is pretty sad the justice system hasn't figured out a better solution before now.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
    • wcr

      Tell me the truth would you want one of those inmates living next door to you? I wouldn't. Like Alex, said those people are in jail for a reason.

      September 15, 2011 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. jesse

    The sad part about this is that they probably won't be able to find jobs anyway. More and more companies and buisnesses are putting into policy that applicants can't have jail time at all.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
    • IWANTajobnow

      Jail time does matter at ll. If you have a felony no one will hire you. Even one timers, that have paid over and beyond ( I am not referring to violent crimes of any kind)

      September 15, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Erica

    Every non violent offender deserves a second chance. Sometimes people get railroaded and long sentences for things the rich get away with.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • IWANTajobnow

      You are absolutely right Erica. IT is very sad.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. ACE

    Just raise taxes, that will solve the problem. Oh yeah, no it won't. Greed won't create jobs.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Cigarman

      Ace, You did not stipulate raising taxes correctly. You should have said, Raise taxes on what is left of the middle class and the poor, and get rid of all taxes for the rich and corporations, and then you would be correct.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. BPatrol

    Set free those felons because we need that space for the indentured servants aka illegal immigrants.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. Chad

    Yep catch 22 the felons should take back there rights or country 1of the 2. We gotta be close to the majority . Step back look at the big picture this is a disaster waiting to happen

    September 15, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. steve

    It's a womens world out there now ... Men don't stand a chance; It's just not equal. Now even in prison women get the breaks... Geeese

    September 15, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. Someday

    Some of these comments don't make sense. People complain when they are in jail or in court because of the costs that 'tax payers' are paying for now they're removing people out of prison that are non-violent and not too harsh of something that they did, and that 'tax payers' are paying for and people are complaining still. One thing or another, either way you're still going to complain. So just get over it.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. Lost

    Will their "past" criminal records hinder their ability to find a decent job? So many places now do background checks (including credit checks) that hurt...the ability of people to find jobs. The credit check crisis is a revolving disaster because many people fall into credit problems due to lack of employment. Most times it has nothing to do with criminality or just simply not wanting to pay bills. What if you have a serious financial emergency that puts your credit at risk, and it takes time and money to fix? What if you don't have the funds to fix the problems, and prevent additional problems?

    Fixing the economy should involve overlooking many credit problems, so that people can just get back to work, and begin rebuilding their lives.

    Don't forget, many people have at some point been able to keep up with the cost of living; but times have changed and so many people are struggling. Should everyone who falls on hard times face "criminal persecution", and should those who've paid their debt to society continue to be penalized after they've served?

    September 15, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. Darla Anderson Anderson

    The long arm of the law needs to be amputated. They are just running around justifying their paychecks, and that they continue to have one coming in. Stop hawking over people. Get a life of your own. Law enforcement and parole, your life should not be justified by your needing to police the rest of us....Just sayin'.........

    September 15, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. Michael

    A lot of these folk in prison don't understand how the system works – if you steal 1,000 bucks from your employer and get caught you better have 10,000 bucks on hand to hire an attorney to negotiate your way through the court system.
    Little money – Little Justice.
    Many of these folk are guilty of not having 10,000 bucks.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Cj

    Are you kidding me? The state of Florida just let a baby killer go free. Give me a break. These women are harmless. Let them go. At least they are probably US citizens!

    September 15, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. Cj

    I agree with Michael. Money talks and BS walks.

    September 15, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
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