Get on the Bus

Each year, on the Friday before Mother’s Day, 40 buses carry children and their caregivers from throughout California to visit their mothers in prison. Two of those buses make the 2½ hour trip from Sacramento with approximately 50 children who live within the Diocese to Valley State Prison and Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla in the Central Valley.

Buses leave from St. Anthony Parish, Sacred Heart Parish and the Pastoral Center in Sacramento where parishioners provide hospitality, a travel bag for each child and caregiver, and snacks for the bus. For the list of participating parishes and event schedules, click here.

For more information about the Get on the Bus Program, contact 916-733-0251.

Did you know…

  • 200,000 California children have at least one parent in prison.
  • At this moment, there are over 10,000 women in prison in California. 65% are serving time for non-violent offenses. Their average age is 36.
  • Approximately 2/3 of women who go to prison have minor children at the time of their incarceration. Most mothers report that they do not see their children throughout the entire time they are in prison.
  • Relatives, often grandparents, usually care for children with a parent in prison. Many caregivers are unable to make the long, expensive trip to the prison so the children can see their Mom or Dad.
  • Children who have regular parent visits demonstrate better emotional and social adjustment, as well as a lower degree of juvenile delinquency. Their parents demonstrate over rates of recidivism and higher rates of successful family reunification upon release.

The Get On The Bus event is often the only way a child can visit his or her Mom in prison. Here are some of their comments after last year’s visit:

- I noticed things about my mother: she was pretty and she looked like me.

- There is no one in the world I have like my Mom.

The trip is offered at no cost to the families. All expenses are completely underwritten by donations from individuals, families, churches and businesses.