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Proposed Prison Program Would Set Thousands Of Women Free

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California women who have children and are serving prison time for non-violent crimes could be set free in a few months.

Under the California Department of Corrections’ “Alternative Custody Program,” thousands of woman could be released from incarceration – an estimated 45 percent of the 10,000 woman imprisoned in the state.

The goal would be “to bring incarcerated mothers back with their families,” said CDCR spokeswoman Dana Toyama.

The program is expected to save the state $6 million a year.

Inmates must be pregnant or the primary caregiver of their child, have 24 months or less left to go of their sentence and volunteer for the program.

They can’t have a history of violent felonies or sex offense convictions, escaped custody in the last decade, have an active restraining order or be involved in gangs. The CDCR says it will consider inmates with a history of being abused as a child.

“We’re not talking murderers, we’re not talking sex offenders,” Toyama said. “We’re talking drug and property offenders — misdemeanor types.”

CDCR says the women will be monitored by GPS devises until the end of their sentences. They’ll either go back home to their kids or to a transitional home.

Still , not everyone agrees.

“I just don’t feel like any of the families here should go through that kind of a risk,” said Ron Henegar, who lives near a transitional home in Fair Oaks.

The inmates could be released in just a couple months — in time to be home for the holidays:

Francine Valdivia, who has been staying in a Fair Oaks clean and sober home, said “it’s like I have another family here.. My whole life has changed.”

She said the motivation to stay clean is clear.

“Stay on track because you don’t want to go back, you know, and you may not get another chance.”

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