Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hundreds of Children Visit Incarcerated Moms for Mother’s Day

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and Silverado Stages, Inc., in conjunction with the Center for Restorative Justice Works (CRJW), are again bringing together hundreds of children and their incarcerated mothers to celebrate Mother’s Day during this 12th annual Get On The Bus event.

Thirty buses filled with more than 700 children and their caregivers traveled early this morning from major cities across California to Central California Women's Facility and Valley State Prison for Women, both in Chowchilla. Children will visit their mothers at the California Institution for Women (CIW) in Corona on May 14. The buses arrived between 8 and 10 a.m. to allow the greatest number of visitors in visiting rooms with limited space.

“These moms look forward each year to this joyful reunion with their children,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. "Women who have strong family ties have a far better chance to successfully transition back to their homes and communities.”

Approximately 200,000 children in California have an incarcerated parent and live with relatives or in foster care, according to CDCR. Approximately 75 percent of female inmates are mothers.

"We have a responsibility to bring these families together,” said Sister Suzanne Jabro, who has led the Get On The Bus effort for 12 years. The children, she said, are the “hidden victims who are suffering especially in these stressful economic times when families do not have the extra funds to visit. Get On The Bus helps them to see, touch and speak to their mother.”

For many of these children, this is the only time during the year that they will see their mother, due to the distance and expense for family members or caregivers.

Get On The Bus provides children and their caregivers with travel bags for the children, comfort care bags for the caregivers, a photograph of each child with his or her mother, and meals for the day. On the bus trip home after the visit with the mothers, each child will receive a teddy bear with a letter from his or her mother, as well as post-event counseling. The program is funded by donations from churches, schools, family foundations, grants and other organizations.

MAY 7, 2011
CONTACT: PEGGY BENGS, (916) 445-4950
HILARY CARSON, GOTB, (818) 980-7714 X 12