On October 15, Get on the Bus (GOTB) returned to the California Men’s Colony (CMC) for the first time in three years. The event provides transportation to and from the institution, as well as meals, gifts and photographs, free of charge. The program allows children and caregivers to visit their incarcerated loved ones.
Preston Baldwin traveled to CMC from Missouri to reunite with his father, someone he hasn’t seen in 19 years.
Baldwin’s father has been incarcerated since 2005. But, after seeing each other for the first time in nearly two decades, Baldwin said, “It was like I’d known him for years.”
Baldwin said seeing his father is something he’s wanted for a long time.
“I’ve been looking forward to this day my whole entire life,” he said.
Baldwin was one of 169 children and chaperones who made the journey to CMC.
The GOTB program offers this life-changing event at 14 California prisons, reuniting hundreds of children with their incarcerated parents.
Liz Rios, Director for the Center for Restorative Justice Works, put the event’s importance in perspective.
“For the day, the child gets to have a parent,” she said.
Story by Lt. John Hill. Photo by Gail Gresham.