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. Willie

    Releasing 4,500 or so criminals into the population will surely do a lot to help law enforcement curb and keep crime under control. The people proposing this hair-brained idea must be on drugs themselves. Good luck to all of the honest – hard-working people of california.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conky2012

      Willie. It is 2011. Almost 2012. If you don't know that most people in American jail or prison are in there for non violent crimes or drug charges, you aren't very bright. This is old news from the 90's.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • victor

      You mean the people who haven't been caught yet, genius.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LDS

    You all sound like a bunch of hippies. Smoking weed and riding in dunebuggies and motorcycles. I bet on the weekends you paint flowers on your faces. Dirty godless hippies.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRB San Deigo

      If your moniker LDS stands for Latter Day Saints, hope their are plenty of young boys in your "church".

      September 13, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • victor

      Am I crazy or didn't the hippies have a more GOD-ful message than any other religion before or since? Besides that, dirty is about as Godly a thing as I could possibly imagine. What, are LDS'ers afraid of getting their pink panties dirty in the mud? Is THAT what it's all about??? Thought so!

      September 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Giovanni Jones

      I was a hippie,but only drank alcohal and drove a dunebuggy,but now, I am a surgeon, who smokes pot and drives a Mercedes.Damn alcohal, leeds to a higher education and pot.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. nathaniel

    Incarceration is non-productive. Community Service has the value it provides built into the phrase, so that even under-educated like many commenting here can understand the concept. On a more productive note, we all pay taxes, and should be allowed to select just how those dollars are spent via multiple selection vote during the filing, thus if you so choose to stick one of your fellow humans in jail, you can choose to waste your money, like your time spent here, on just that very measure.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. WDinDallas

    Expand the death penalty. Less crowding. Gang member? Say hello to sparky.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bill

    This will save the state very little. They just go on welfare and most will continue to commit crimes. Plus they get their kids back, which is a huge negative for the children.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conky2012

      Yes because a person who steals something should have their kids taken away! That makes lots of sense, you must be quite the saint Bill. Dumb Dumb.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Not everyone re-offends. The only reason they would is if they have no support.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. James

    Ditch the mandatory sentencing for minor drug offenses and we could free up a lot of space right there.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SARGE

    DIirty hippies. Buncha nancy boys. Get a haircut and take a bath for a change. hippies.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • victor

      isn't it the guys in your unit Sarge, who sign up to live together without women? Who's talkin nancy boys!?!


      September 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Giovanni Jones

      damn alchies,bunch of gunnies.Your hair's already short and you are clean.What's your excuse.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mom of 4

    I can't believe this! There is no reason to release these "moms" early if the Children are being cared for by their fathers! Fathers are JUST AS CAPABLE of caring for their children. Unless this program is offered to Fathers at the same time, there should be grounds to sue the State of California for discrimination.

    MAY be made available..... I doubt it."It may be made available to male inmates in the future, the department said."

    September 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. minority white

    More evidence and facts that the male is not created equal and is the punchbag for discrimination. Lawyers and such do not even take cases involving a white male and discrimination. Companies even admit it is easier to fire or layoff a white man cause they have no recourse for disrimination. I guess todays male has to pay for the mistakes of the past.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. I. Jacoffalot

    Funny how women commit a crime and they get to go to a PENAL COLONY! Dang...

    September 13, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Emma

    The article said they wil be allowed to find a job. WHAT jobs? The unemployment rate in CA is 12.0.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Steve1959

    Only females? This is going to turn into one major descrimination lawsuit before it's over.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. EgoSum Lamia

    STOP making prison enjoyable and put them back into labor camps and on the chain gang. STOP with free medical, dental, education. STOP the TV, A.C.,computer time, library time. STOP STOP STOP. MAKE them earn their keep. I work and pay taxes and I get no FREE benefits why should convicts get any benefits at all???

    September 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • lady in blue

      You have a very narrow view of people. Everyone who lives is a soul wanting forgiveness. You sound like you don't forgive anyone who ever was or is in prison. Many have done their time and have still no right in the terrible society who once a person is labeled never has a normal life again. God forgives you of your sins. How about you forgiving your fellow man. Are you a Christian?

      September 13, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ummmwe

      You have no idea what its like. Free medical care? That's a joke. You've got a cavity, OK we'll pull your tooth.

      Imagine that, you're in for something minor like a DUI and now since the state can't have the liability that you may get an infection they pull your tooth to leave you looking like a hillbilly!

      September 13, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThaliaTortle

      It's not even really a Christian thing. You make prison sound like it's the most glorious place ever created by man. It's not. You're so off the mark it's sad. Obviously you've never been there. You sound quite uneducated. Talk to someone who has been there, rather than whining about something you have no experience with.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terri

      I can't speak for all states or all prisons, but the one my husband works at is not at all the "free ride" people seem to be misinformed about. TV, snacks, computer time, etc... are not free. Inmates have to pay to have those luxuries. Sometimes the family puts money into the account for the inmates and they are also paid (tiny amount) for doing things in the prison if they are non-violent and have short sentences. This is the same with the health care as well. They have to pay for medical just like anyone else. The only difference on that is that the nurse/doctor is on site...not in a town somewhere. They can be taken to a local emergency room if needed but other than that, they don't leave to see a doctor. People need to research facts before they slam things. No, we should not have our tax dollars paying for these people. And we don't. And in North Carolina and South Carolina, they do still go out on the highways to keep them clean and such. Having them do that has not seemed to lessen the number of people committing crimes so the "chain gangs" theory may not work as well as people think.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      You're an idiot who clearly has no education or background knowledge of this. Studies show that better prisons REDUCE further incarceration times. Tons of reports from the US and other countries demonstrate that prisons with good programs reduce the likelyhood of prisoners being incarcerated.

      Stop being stupid. Stop being uneducated. Open a book before blindly forming an opinion.

      September 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Giovanni Jones

      I worked in the medical dept of a prison,it's care is free.As a civilian you couldn't pay me to see a prison doctor,even if "free" was offered.In one incident, after a prison doctor failed to revive a heart attack, guess what he wrote as to the cause of death–Completely Dead! Trust me,a lot of prison medical staff act like they are imbeciles.

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

    It's about time the prison population is going to be reduced. Realizing how many are employed as jailers in this state, it's a bold move for the powers that be to release a few inmates. Prison industry is big business in the land of the free.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete H

      I suppose it's OK then, to have these people move into a halfway house across the street from YOU. No, they can't move in across the street from me. The occupants of that halfway house won't consent. BTW; that one moved in, LEGALLY, with no hearing, no permit, and no notice to the neighborhood. Have fun!...

      September 13, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kerr Mudgeon

      You are so right, Jack. Too bad more folks don't realize that the good ol' US of A has more of our citizens incarcerated than any other country in the WORLD! Are we really that bad as a population, or has the Drug War turned us into a police state that profits from the Prison system? Follow the money...

      September 13, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • victor

      Pete H, will you stop being such a WIMP. Your type is why america has gone down the drain living in fear and not the real world never helps.

      September 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JJ

    Making room for Lindsay Lohan I suppose.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
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