Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hundreds of Children Visit Dads in Prison for Father’s Day

'Get On The Bus’ events expand to 6 prisons

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Center for Restorative Justice Works (CRJW) again brought together more than a thousand children and their incarcerated fathers to celebrate Father’s Day during the 12th annual Get On The Bus event.

“Uniting fathers with their children helps to keep the family bond that will encourage inmates to change their behavior when they are eventually released into society,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. "We continue to support the Center for Restorative Justice Works and Get On The Bus, as each year they positively affect more and more lives."

A total of more than a thousand children traveled with their caregivers in 30 buses to visit their incarcerated dads to celebrate Father’s Day. The buses visited California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo on June 4; Folsom State Prison on June 11; and San Quentin State Prison, California State Prison, Solano, in Vacaville and Correctional Training Facility and Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad on June 18. The buses arrived as early as 8 a.m. to accommodate the maximum number of visitors at the institutions. For many of these children, this was the only time during the year that they will see their father.

Last month, during the 12th annual Get On The Bus Mother’s Day event, a similar number of children traveled from major cities across California to one of three female institutions. Today in California, approximately 200,000 children have an incarcerated parent. Many of those children live with relatives or in foster care.

“These children are the hidden victims who are suffering in these stressful economic times when families do not have the extra funds to visit,” said program founder Sister Suzanne Jabro, who has spearheaded the event for the past 12 years. "We have a responsibility to bring these families together,” she added. “A child needs to see their reflection in a father’s eyes.”

Get On The Bus provides travel bags for the children, comfort care bags for the caregivers, a photograph of each child with his or her parent, and meals for the day. On the trip home, each child receives a teddy bear with a letter from his or her parent as well as post-event counseling. The program is funded by donations from churches, schools, family foundations and other organizations. Transportation is provided by Silverado Stages Inc.

For more information on the program, please visit CDCR’s web site at www.cdcr.ca.gov or the Get On The Bus program web site at www.getonthebus.us/.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, June 18, 2011

Contact: Terry Thornton (916) 445-4950
Hilary Carson, GOTB, (818) 980-7714 X 12