What is Get On The Bus?
Get On The Bus brings children and their guardians/caregivers from throughout the state of California to visit their mothers and fathers in prison. An annual event, Get On The Bus offers free transportation for the children and their caregivers to the prison, provides travel bags for the children, comfort care bags for the caregivers, a photo of each child with his or her parent, and meals for the day (breakfast, snacks on the bus, lunch at the prison, and dinner on the way home all at no cost to the children’s family. On the bus trip home, following a four-hour visit, each child receives a teddy bear with a letter from their parent and post-event counseling. Get On The Bus is a program of The Center for Restorative Justice Works, a non profit organization that unites children, families and communities seperated by crime and the criminal justice system.
Why do the children need transportation?
Children with a parent in prison are usually cared for by relatives, often grandparents. Many caregivers are unable to make the drive due to distance or expense. Get On The Bus offers a priceless opportunity a mother’s touch, a father’s hug, a family photo, a private conversation and a connection with hope and healing.
When does it take place?
Each year around Mothers Day and Father’s Day, hundreds of children and their caregivers board buses and travel from cities all over the State of California to be united.
How you can help?
Get On The Bus can only take place through the generosity of individuals and groups who have a heart for this special event. Visit our Get Involved page to see how you can help! Here are some current facts about our work:
- An estimated 856,000 children in California have a parent currently involved in California’s adult criminal justice system, nearly 9% of the state’s children. (approx. 200,000 have one parent in state prison, 97,000 have a parent in jail, and 564,000 have parents on parole or probation.)
- One in 5 of these children have witnessed their parent’s arrest.
- Police and courts do not regularly inquire at the time of arrest or sentencing whether a prisoner has children.
- 60% of parents in state prison report being held over 100 miles from their children.
- In 1999, the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 54% of mothers and 57% of fathers in state prisons reported never having had a single visit from their children.
- Children’s odds of delinquency increase dramatically when visits with their incarcerated parent are denied.
- Children who are allowed regular visits with their incarcerated parent demonstrate better emotional and social adjustment; they can be assured they are loved and that their parents have not abandoned them by choice.
- Regular visits between children and their incarcerated parent lower rates of recidivism for the parent and improves family reunification following the parent’s release.