California has the largest prison system in the nation with 46 adult prisons/facilities that house over 165,000 men and women who leave
approximately 200,000 children without one or both of their parents.
The Center for Restorative Justice Works (CRJW) was founded in October, 2007, to innovate a broad, grass-roots, response to those impacted by crime and the criminal justice system. We advocate, educate and demonstrate the critical need to mend, re-weave and re-connect the primary relationship between child-parent, families-loved ones, community in and out of prison. We believe these relationships are being torn apart by crime and the criminal justice system. We believe this is a factor in unsuccessful rehabilitation. CRJW promotes systemic change. We promote a restorative justice agenda. We work to advance principles of healing, right relationship for the common good.
The Center serves as an umbrella for three distinct direct service programs:
1) Get On The Bus — uniting children with their mothers and fathers in prison—the organization's flagship program that unites children with their parents in prison on the Fridays before Mother's and Father's Days. This program mobilizes over 40 different faith communities throughout the state of California to coordinate buses. In 2009, more than 300 volunteers will help 1,000 children to Get On The Bus.
2) Chowchilla Family Express — uniting children & families with their loved ones in prison—provides free, weekly transportation to children and extended families of women serving sentences at two prisons located in the remote town of Chowchilla. The program is offered in partnership with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in order to strengthen family bonds during incarceration, which has been proven to yield more successful re-entry.
3) Cross Over — uniting communities with women in prison —the program is a unique opportunity for any outside community to be in conversation with those who are in prison. It is a special evening, event or program providing a group of "outside" people with an ability to meet and converse with the "inside" people, in a peaceful, secure environment. The Cross Over is in a unique position to accompany people in crossing over the borders of prison walls.