Today: Jun 17, 2024

Female prisoners may be free to return home

CHARDONEE WRIGHTStaff Writer
I absolutely love watching CNN, and I spend hours reading and browsing their website. Last week as I was browsing the web, I came across an article entitled, “California may send Thousands of Female Prisoners Home,” and I found it extremely interesting.
According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, thousands of women offenders who have two years or less left on their sentence, whose crimes were nonviolent, non-serious and nonsexual, may be eligible for the Alternative Custody Program. Offenders in the program will have a chance to attend school and find jobs. Many of the female inmates have children who stay with relatives or in foster care, and this program will help mothers reunite with their children and families.
The women in the program will be moni¬tored by a parole agent and an electronic moni¬tor. Any remain¬ing time to serve can be spent at a residential substance-abuse, a transitional-care facility or at home. Wow, I thought to myself that this is such a phenome¬nal program! Not only is it allowing female inmates a second chance, but also they are permitted to finish their time in the comfort of their own home. This program isn’t giving a one-way ticket out of jail, but it is giving female inmates who fulfill particular requirements another opportunity to do what is right.
I like to watch a lot of documentaries on prison life. It is a huge interest of mine. I recog¬nize that a lot of inmates talk about their families and how much they miss them, and they always have pictures and drawings of them. Now, I know that some inmates deserve to be in jail, don’t get me wrong. Yet, for the offenders with non-serious crimes, this pro¬gram is a great step in the right direction.
ACP was signed into law in 2010 by then- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. CDCR secretary Matthew Cate said, “ACP is a step in break¬ing the intergenerational cycle of incarceration, as family involvement is one of the biggest indicators of an inmate’s re¬habilitation.” CDCR also stated that 45 percent of the 10,000 fe¬male inmate population may be eli¬gible for the program.
As I c o n t i nu ed reading, all I could think of is how wonderful this program is. My father wasn’t around for all of my life, but I could never imag¬ine not having my mother around. We are so used to hearing the statistics about “fatherless homes,” but what about “motherless homes?” Not having my mother around because she was imprisoned is something that I can’t fathom. My mother is my rock and helped mold me into the young woman that I am today.
Currently, California has the nation’s larg¬est prison system. Not only is this program a great idea, but California will be able to save about $6 million for the state. According to CNN, “The state of California is un¬der federal pressure to reduce inmate population. The Supreme Court this summer up¬held 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. ”
The effort by CDCR to implement this pro¬gram and free imprisoned women is spectacular. It is a great idea because a mother plays such a vital role in a family. Many families around the world need to be restored, whether for physi¬cal, emotional or mental reasons. Women who meet the requirements established by CDCR have a right to go back to their families and an opportunity for a second chance.
A woman is the nurturer of the home. I am not a mother yet, but when I think of the word “mother,” so many definitions can be at¬tached to that term. A mother is the glue that holds the family together and keeps it upright and rooted. I can only talk from my personal experience with my mother. This is what I’ve watched her do as I grew up under her wings. With that being said, I commend all programs created to help restore the “family.”

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