CDCR and CCHCS staff worked to brighten Easter for families inside prisons as well as those in the community. Families visiting their incarcerated loved ones were treated to egg hunts, activities and treats. Meanwhile, children battling illness at regional hospitals were provided gifts to help make their time more enjoyable.
North Kern staff create baskets for children’s hospital
Staff at North Kern State Prison (NKSP) recently put together Easter baskets for Valley Children’s Healthcare in Madera. Dubbed Operation Hop, staff delivered baskets to the hospital March 31.
“I am proud to see my staff at NKSP come together and assemble over 200 Easter baskets for the kids at the hospital. Items in the basket included coloring books, crayons, toys, stickers, and stuffed animals. We hope this makes the children’s time in the hospital a little more joyful,” said Warden Hixon.
Submitted by Joseph Lopez, CRM
Folsom State Prison helps Oakland charitable event
Folsom State Prison, in collaboration with the Cameron Park Rotary Club and Alameda County Probation Department, provided 49 refurbished bicycles for an Oakland event. Families also received 500 goodie bags, 400 stuffed eggs for younger children and 600 stuffed baskets for older children.
Euniece Law Annual Blessed Easter Distribution brought joy and hope to hundreds of families in the Oakland community. This event brings together local businesses, community organizations and volunteers.
The event’s focus on “Encouraging, Inspiring and Lifting Up” those in need was exemplified by the diverse array of services and activities provided. The Christ Handles Basketball Ministry, mental health and dental services, and free prizes were just some of the offerings aimed to support the physical and emotional well-being of attendees.
Family friendly visiting activities offered across state
Across California, family visiting staff and volunteers created memorable Easter and spring activities at prisons, parole offices and reentry facilities.
Participating institutions included:
- California Medical Facility
- Folsom State Prison
- California State Prison-Sacramento
- Wasco State Prison
- Ironwood State Prison
- California Institution for Women
- California State Prison-Los Angeles County
- High Desert State Prison
- Correctional Training Facility
- California Institution for Men
- California Men’s Colony
- Central California Women’s Facility
- San Quentin State Prison
- Centinela State Prison
- Pelican Bay State Prison
- Chuckawalla Valley State Prison
- and California Health Care Facility.
“We would like to extend our appreciation and gratitude to you and your staff’s participation in hosting an Easter Event for the incarcerated population and their families,” said Jennifer Benavidez, Associate Director (A), Female Offender Programs and Services. “Visiting plays an integral part in the rehabilitation process and you and your staff’s hard work and dedication to that goal has not gone unnoticed.”
Centinela State Prison joins Easter effort
On Saturday, April 8, Custody Capt. R. Solorio along with several Centinela State Prison Visiting staff arrived early to start the Easter celebration. Acting as CDCR’s own Easter bunnies and placing Easter Baskets and eggs in the Visiting patios, staff got to work.
Egg hunts and activities were held on Facilities B, C and D.
“Thank you for doing this for everybody. It’s very emotional to have these events with our family,” said the mother of incarcerated person Martinez in Facility A Visiting.
Many came together to make the event happen including Visiting Department, visitor donations, and the Inmate Family Council (IFC).
“Warden and staff, on behalf of families and our loved ones at Centinela, we wanted to express our sincere gratitude for the effort you have contributed to our very first Easter event,” said IFC Centinela Chapter President Roxanne Knight.
“Centinela families were so overwhelmed with joy from the minute they walked in as staff was in the Easter spirit. This event made a heartwarming impact on families and the men. I received so much positive feedback from many families,” Knight continued. “They sincerely appreciate your flexibility and willingness of making this day special. May this be the beginning of better events to come.”
Story by Sgt. K. Santana
Submitted by Lt. D. Loop
Easter events in photos
Easter visiting details
California Correctional Institution held an Easter egg hunt on April 8 for Facility C and D visiting.
California Institution for Men (CIM) hosted an Easter-themed visitation event on April 8. Easter bags were given to each child who visited. The bags were donated by Associate Warden E. Mejia, Capt. M. Ramirez, Lieutenant S. Taylor, Sgt. E. Gonzalez, and wrapped with the help of the CRM’s Office. The children received crayons and coloring pages as well as assorted candy. The Easter Bunny was also present and shared high fives and laughs with minor and adult visitors.
“It is great to see staff collaborating with the incarcerated population and their families. This is a testament to the character of all CIM staff,” said Warden (A) John Merchant.
California Medical Facility (CMF) transformed the visiting room into an “Easter Wonderland” with an Easter themed photo booth, dyeing eggs, playing games, serving delicious treats, and an Easter egg hunt. “I would like to thank our extraordinary visiting staff for ensuring our incarcerated population and their loved ones had a happy and memorable Easter holiday,” said Acting Warden Daniel E. Cueva.
Folsom State Prison (FSP) provided activities for the children including a movie, popcorn, Easter music ring toss game, bunny ear darts game, and face-painting. There was an Easter egg hunt with candy and prize tickets hidden inside. The Easter Bunny also made a special appearance.
San Quentin State Prison hosted an Easter Spectacular event featuring a drawing station for the children, SQ band, Easter decorations, and Leroy the Easter Bunny. Warden Oak Smith and his wife, Michelle, passed out cotton candy and popcorn for attendees. Children were also given an Easter goodie bag at the end of the event.
Wasco State Prison Warden Heather Shirley, WSP management, and the visiting team organized an Easter event at Wasco State Prison‑Reception Center (WSP). Children crafted bunny ear hats and faces with their incarcerated loved ones. This was the first time many of them had been able to do crafts with their family. All children also received a goodie bag at the end of the event.
Correctional Training Facility staff donated Easter eggs, bags, crayons, and candy for the event. There was an Easter egg hunt in family visiting, a coloring contest, and games. Each child who attended received an Easter basket filled with goodies.
California Institution for Women volunteers from various activity groups collaborated with CIW staff to put on the event. Easter themed decorations lined the visiting room and Easter baskets were displayed and offered to all children in attendance. There was an Easter egg hunt held on the playground. The event was sponsored by various donations from staff and local organizations.
California Health Care Facility visitation staff held Easter weekend activities with the incarcerated population and their families. Face painting, coloring contests with prizes, decorating eggs, Easter hip-hop, and posing for pictures with Peter Cottontail were included in the festivities.
Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp celebrated Easter with Correctional Supervising Cook (CSC) Barbara Moreau teaching Youth Kitchen workers how to make baked goods.
Pelican Bay State Prison visiting staff got into the spirit of Easter with decorations and preparing Easter baskets for the kids. As families were processed to their visits with their love ones, staff went around the visiting rooms handing out the Easter baskets to each child. The baskets also had a crocheted animal created by the hobby craft group on D Facility.
Stories and photos compiled by Quinn Sheppard, Alia Cruz and Don Chaddock.
Photos and stories submitted by institution Public Information Officers.