Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chowchilla Family Express.

Some of you may recall my involvement with Get On The Bus.  It began 5 years ago when, through a local Catholic nun, I got involved in the program which organizes bus trips on Mother's Day to take kids to visit their mothers.  We coordinate with the families and prisons, provide transportation, meals and gifts for the kids, etc.  The program has grown from one bus nine years ago to over 50 this year.  And, my parish now sponsors 3 buses each year.

Three years ago we added a few buses on Father's Day to several men's prisons and then, 18 months ago the state of CA began to fund an expansion called the Chowchilla Family Express, which runs buses throughout the year (each weekend) from various starting points to Chowchilla, where the two main women prisons are located.  This program has grown and is a big success helping to provide intact families inmates, thereby helping reduce recidivism.

See the video below regarding the CFE.

Now the program is being expanded to provide transportation to the men's prison and I have been asked to help coordinate the launch this test year.  Initially we will run 4 buses over the next 12 months to the 4 prisons that are the farthest from LA.  Pelican Bay is a 12+ hour ride and will require an overnight stay, so we will be coordinating with local parishes to provide showers and meals when the families arrive, overnight stays, etc.  If this is as successful as expected the state will add budget to fund the program.  Given the numbers of men in the 33 state prisons, this program could be big.

I will keep you posted.

(And, here's a video of the GOTB program for Mother's Day 2007.)

1 comment:

Pagan Sphinx said...

Dear Clyde,
I just read your letter to Mad Priest over at OCICBW. I came over to wish you the best regarding your health. I'm not a member of any religion but I do believe in the power of "prayer", such as I see it. With that said, I will be praying for you.

Great blog you've got here, by the way. I'm looking forward to exploring further.