Criminal Justice

California Mothers in Prison May be Going Home Soon

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A Sept. 12 press release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announces that part of the Supreme Court-mandated slimming down of California's corpulent prison population will involve something called the Alternative Custody Program.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Mothers who were convicted of non-serious, non-sexual crimes — and have two years or less remaining on their sentences — could start going home as early as next week, prisons spokeswoman Dana Toyama said. The women would be required to wear GPS-enabled ankle bracelets and report to parole officers.

CDCR spokesperson Dana Toyama also told Reason that "this is not an early release program, it's an alternative custody program" meaning that the women's freedom can be revoked at any time for the remainder of their original sentence.

Sadly, men—90 percent of the 143,435-strong inmate population of California—are not yet eligible. There are no concrete plans to include them any time soon, though the phrasing in the bill outlining the policy was changed from "mothers" to the constitutionally-sound gender-neutral "primary caregiver."

But for the moment, almost half the state's female population could be on the tentative road to freedom after individual review of their cases. 

The L.A. Times notes some restrictions:

Any conviction for a violent or sexual felony, or for any crime involving child abuse, would disqualify an inmate from taking part in the program. An escape attempt in the last 10 years, gang membership or an active restraining order also would rule an inmate out, state officials said.

 And some obligitory objections:

"If they were such great mothers to begin with, they never would have committed the heinous crime that got them sent to state prison," said Harriet Salarno, founder of Sacramento-based Crime Victims United. In many cases, the children might be better off in foster care, Salarno said.

The CDCR's research says, by the way, that 27.2 percent of female inmates in California were there for drug offenses in 2008 (down from a high of 43 percent in 1999.) Toyama said the women eligible will be ones who committed "victimless crimes" and who are "low-level offenders, mothers who want to get back to their families."

After October first, she added, this may be "a moot point" since low-level offenders will soon be "realigned" to county jails anyway. Inmates eligible for this program will have to have been sentenced before that date.

It's estimated by CDCR that the program could save California about $6 million.

Steve Chapman on the original Supreme Court decision. Reason's July "Criminal Injustice" issue.

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  1. Isn’t that a blatant equal protection violation?

    1. Yes. But even if someone does challenge it in court, it will be years before SCOTUS declines to take the case, and by then the dirtbags running the California corrections department will have successfully tap-danced around their release mandate.

      1. See, where we went wrong was not making constitutional violations more painful for government officials. At the very least, you should be out of work.

        1. If the so-called “constitutional violations” were so obvious, we wouldn’t need the higher courts. A low-level clerk in a country courthouse would suffice. Life isn’t so simple, of course.

          1. Please point out where anyone made point as to the obviousness of such violations. I’ll wait while you fail.

            1. PL used the word “blatant”. That could lead to someone thinking the violations were also obvious, methinks.

              1. “That could lead to someone thinking”

                Please point out where anyone made point as to the obviousness of such violations. I’ll wait while you fail.

              2. He asked the question.

                Think about why you are wrong now.

              3. PL used the word “blatant”

                Yup. See also:

                “constitutional violations more painful for government officials…[they] should be out of work”

                PL promotes the peculiar notion that government officials (because they work for the government!) should be punished with the forfeiture of their livelihoods for not knowing what cannot be known until after the fact (or as the charmingly handled “shut the fuck up” opined, “the [un]obviousness of such violations.”) Hope this explanation of a very simple act of reasoning helps the reading comprehension-challenged (not to mention ethically challenged) amongst you. You’re welcome.

                1. Their livelihoods are subject to them performing their jobs within prescribed limits. Just like mine, except that in their case, it’s a violation of law for them to exceed certain limits.

                  And it is almost certainly an equal protection violation.

    2. Sure. But the court can always decline to hear a case since a man wouldn’t have “standing.”

    3. + 10 to Pro Libertate

    4. The press release says you just have to be female, not a mom.
      “Female inmate, or
      ? Pregnant inmate, or
      ? Inmate who, immediately prior to incarceration, was the primary caregiver of a dependent child.”

      1. Sorry, but the attorneys of male convicts are going to have lots of fun with this one. It’s absolutely unconstitutional to discriminate on the basis of sex, especially when there’s no compelling reason for doing so.

        1. VAWA and IMBRA would like a word with you.

          1. fwiw, i have long been a critic of some aspects of VAWA and the war on domestic violence in general, but apart from the name, VAWA is actually gender neutral as far as i can tell.

            it may not always work that way in practice (and god knows i do my best to be gender neutral in DV Investigations), but the provisions that protect women in certain situations according to VAWA also protect men in those same situations.

        2. Not to mention the Selective Service Act.

          1. THAT is a much better example.

          2. Anything like that has a justification, however tenuous. This doesn’t appear to have one that can explain away the discrimination.

            I didn’t invent antidiscrimination laws, but I can assure you that this will be heavily litigated.

    5. It’s called the P*ssy Pass and if you had one, you’d qualify for all of these legal perks like lighter sentencing and early release.

  2. How about we release everyone ever convicted of any victimless crimes, and expunge their records.

    Then take all the laws they broke off the books.

    I don’t give a crap if they have kids at home or not, nor what you find between their legs. Confining anyone for a victimless crime is grossly, sickeningly immoral.

    1. “Victimless crime” should be recognized as an oxymoron.

      1. How should we re-brand them then? “Crimes against other peoples’ morality” or “Failure to respect authoritah”?

        1. unpopular personal choice

        2. How about – unpopular personal choice?

          1. “How about – unpopular personal choice?”

            Or:
            “San Francisco’s ordinance […] stated that “[a]ny person who is […] an unsightly or disgusting object, […]was not allowed to “expose himself or herself to public view” or would “be deemed guilty of a misdemeanour”
            http://sylvar.tumblr.com/post/…..ess-and-or

            And then, we could outlaw public stupidity, but the jails aren’t big enough to hold all the politicos.

        3. “Political crimes”

          1. Failure to stay between the ever-narrowing lines.

  3. Men and minorities hit worst?

  4. “non-serious, non-sexual crime.” So, a sexual crime is serious? Why don’t we have them paint Scarlet “A”s on their chests?

    1. Rape is a sexual crime. There certainly are problems with our “sexual crimes” but what if the mother is in jail for abusing her child? Obviously, letting them out to be with their children would be silly.

    2. Child abuse is already listed separately.

      Clearly they mean prostitution.

      1. Or they could mean rape of dwarves or poodles.

  5. So I guess bitches ARE shit.

    Huh. Learn something every day.

  6. Damn, that Helen Salerno’s a real bitch. Not that I’m going to start handing out “Greatest Mother” awards to people coming out jail, but is the foster care system really that much better than living with admittedly imperfect parents, especially when the crime in question is non-violent and not directed towards children?

  7. Threadjack: http://thephoenix.com/Blogs/ph…..slots.aspx

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    1. Ha! I saw that, was tempted to blog it, but on its own, I think you (and the Princess Bride) just covered it.

    2. From the link:
      “I’ve managed largely to reconcile my libertarian positions on speech […] and in the realm of personal conduct (what J. S. Mill dubbed “self-regarding conduct”) with my left-leaning positions on government’s establishing a bottom floor beneath which no decent society allows any of its citizens to fall.”

      IOWs, the bozo’s willing to oulaw any sort of liberty he doesn’t like!
      Some ‘reconciliation’…

    3. Poor gamblers: fuck ’em, if they can’t do simple math.

      1. There’s a reason gamblers are often referred to as ‘degenerate’. The author should have made the trip into a lesson for his son: “see how fucking stupid and wasteful it is to squander your money gambling”, and left it at that

        1. Or just make him stake a Statistics class.

  8. The best part is where he laments how the gray-hairs were bussed in to pull slot machine arms like automatons, no smiles or joy in sight.

    My grandparents used to go on trips to AC once in a while. They liked the chance to gamble some spare change, see a show, and eat at the buffet with some friends in their church group. No one ever put a gun to grandpa’s head and made him buy the tickets.

    This is something I hate about social “scientists,” pundits, bloggers, etc.

    1. oops, posted this before I finished the edit.

      preview, preview

  9. The best part is where he laments how the gray-hairs were bussed in to pull slot machine arms like automatons, no smiles or joy in sight – project much?

    My grandparents used to go on trips to AC once in a while. They liked the chance to gamble some spare change, see a show, and eat at the buffet with some friends in their church group. I don’t remember them ever being forced into it.

  10. But for the moment, almost half the state’s female population could be on the tentative road to freedom after individual review of their cases.

    I think you mean half of the state’s female prison population, no?

    1. Freedom in California is a relative term.

  11. If they were such great mothers to begin with, they never would have committed the heinous crime that got them sent to state prison,” said Harriet Salarno, founder of Sacramento-based Crime Victims United. In many cases, the children might be better off in foster care, Salarno said.

    Ahh… the stupid cunt finally gave me a reason to believe in abortion.

    1. “heinous crime”. I thought only the non-heinous criminals were being considered? nice hyperbole there harriet

  12. The point of this article should be: If a crime is non-serious, why is the offender in jail for more than 2 years. Aren’t all crimes requiring jail time serious? – he asked knowingly, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more squire.

    1. You’re powerfully stupid.

      1. “You’re powerfully stupid.”
        Sarcasm meter needs recalibration.

        1. “If a crime is non-serious, why is the offender in jail for more than 2 years.”

          This is sarcasm?

          1. I hope so.

            1. A fish doesn’t know he’s wet.

  13. At first I thought “only $6 million?” Then I realized, oh yeah, no prison staff, guard, etc. would like, you know, be laid off or anything.

  14. California Mothers in Prison May be Going Home Soon

    Will care if they’re MILFs.

    The women would be required to wear GPS-enabled ankle bracelets and [hee hee hee!] “report” to parole officers.

    I can see it now…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkY1l6rDpVc

    1. I am so bringing back “chalk-faced whore”

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