Program brings children, incarcerated mothers together at four correctional facilities, lowers risk of recidivism by participating moms.
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles are again working together to bring children to visit their incarcerated mothers on Mother’s Day.
The female offenders are housed at one of five state adult and juvenile facilities. The adult prisons are the California Institution for Women, California Rehabilitation Center, Central California Women’s Facility, and Valley State Prison for Women. The juvenile facility is the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility.
The children, who are accompanied by loved ones and guardians, will visit today as part of the eighth annual Get on the Bus program. This year, approximately 34 buses with more than 650 children and their guardians will travel from 17 cities throughout California to the prisons in southern and central California. The mothers have to be on good conduct for one year to earn a visit from their children.
When released from prison, those mothers are less inclined to return to crime because of the ties they have maintained with their children, according to most industry researchers.
“Every child wants to see, touch and talk with their mother, whether they are incarcerated or not,” said Wendy Still, Associate Director of CDCR Female Offender Programs and Services. “Get on the Bus helps moms and kids stay connected. This benefits these children by lowering the likelihood that their mother will return to prison.”
Get on the Bus provides free transportation for children and their caregivers, 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. The meals include breakfast, snacks on the bus, lunch at the prison, and dinner on the way home. On the bus trip home, following the visit with the mothers, each child receives a teddy bear with a letter from their mother as well as post-event counseling. Children with mothers in prison are usually cared for by relatives, often grandparents, who are often unable to make the drive due to distance or expense. The program is funded by donations from churches, schools, agencies, family foundations, grants and other organizations.
Learn more about Governor Schwarzenegger’s comprehensive prison reform package at: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/News/PrisonReform.html