Family visiting day

?It was very heart warming to see my grandchildren with their mother. They really needed to see each other. I want to thank you all for making this happen for them. It wouldn?t have been possible otherwise. I want to thank you from the bottom, top, and middle of my heart!?
The California Coalition for Women Prisoners had our first ever ?Family Visiting Day? on Saturday, January 29, 2005, to help family members in the Bay Area visit people at both Valley State Prison for Women and Central California Women?s Facility. With the support of donors and volunteers, we were able to bring thirty family members, many of whom were children, to visit their loved ones in prison. Many of the women inside of prison had not seen their families in years. One woman had not seen her family in over 10 years!
Our day started very early in the morning. CCWP volunteers and staff drove as far as Sacramento to pick up family members for the visit. We all made it to the prison right on time for visiting hours and most of the visits went seamlessly. As one visitor expressed, ?It [the visit] was very exciting! I was very happy to see my daughter.?
After the visit, we stopped in Los Banos for dinner. During dinner, people shared the experience of their visit with the rest of the group. Adults and children alike expressed their happiness and relief with seeing their loved ones as well as meeting other people who have family in prison. One woman shared, ?I got to meet others who share the same pain as myself. It was healing.?
Everyone involved agreed that we should have Family Visiting Day again. We are hoping to make this a yearly event. If you are interested in participating in the next Family Visiting Day, please write us. Thanks to all those who made this year?s event a success!