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In this issue:

  • A special goodbye from an incarcerated father to his daughter
  • Cameo House residents complete first step of programming
  • Formerly incarcerated people and allies advocate for reform 
A special goodbye from an incarcerated father to his daughter

This May, Eva said goodbye to her father. After 6 years of visiting him in jail, her dad was going to prison

Since she was a toddler, Eva* has been visiting her dad in the child-friendly, family visitation room in San Francisco’s jail through a special program supported by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department (SFSD).

When their mothers or fathers are transferred from jail to prison, children of incarcerated parents often face daunting goodbyes. To ensure Eva and children in her position are best supported, CJCJ and the SFSD have partnered for over 30 years to promote the best possible experience in a very difficult situation. 

During the visit, Eva and her dad colored pictures, sang their favorite songs, and Eva’s father gave her a diary, purchased by CJCJ. Her father explained she could write down her feelings, thoughts, and events in her life to share with him. He wrote her a special passage to read when she got home. As the visiting time drew to an end, the two said their usual prayer and hugged tightly.

Thanks to SFSD, family visits help children maintain relationships with their parents who are in jail, and goodbye visits allow parents to explain to their child that the change is not their fault, and provides tools for communication. Today, despite the unfortunate circumstance this family faces, we celebrate the happy and healthy goodbye Eva experienced. *Names and details changed to protect identities.

Read the full story about Eva’s goodbye visit with her father » Donate to CJCJ’s family visitation program »

See how in-person visitation is in danger of being replaced by video visitation »

Cameo House residents complete first step of programming

CJCJ congratulates five residents for successfully finishing the first phase of the Cameo House curriculum

This month, CJCJ’s extends congratulations to Bettina, Jeanette, Lasara, Lorina, andStephanie for completing the first portion of the Cameo House program. 

Cameo House is an alternative sentencing program for homeless, formerly incarcerated women and their children. It is a unique program in San Francisco that provides supportive services and reunification for women with up to two children.

Cameo House Program Manager, Nichole Pettway, commends these five women on their accomplishments. Helping these women regain custody of their children, reclaim their lives and reach for new beginnings, reaffirms the work that we do,” says Pettway. Seeing the glow on their faces when they’ve taken another step closer to their dreams, lets Cameo House know we are helping change lives.” 

Cameo House Director Shirley Lamarr echoed these sentiments, stating, I am very proud of my Cameo house environment. Both the staff and our residents have successfully formed a very healthy and nurturing atmosphere of learning that they will need to be successful in their lives.”

Donate to Cameo House »

Learn more about CJCJ’s Cameo House » 

Formerly incarcerate people and allies advocate for reform

CJCJ participates in annual Quest for Democracy Day, advocating for criminal justice reform legislation at the California state capitol

On May 9th, hundreds of formerly incarcerated people, family members of incarcerated people, those who have been affected by the criminal justice system, and their allies joined together in Sacramento to advocate for justice reform in California. 

The fifth annual Quest for Democracy Day” was hosted by Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) and All of Us or None, which connected communities statewide, from Los Angeles to Stockton, to policymakers in the California capitol. 

In the morning, Quest for Democracy attendees held a rally in the capitol building, where leaders from advocacy organizations spoke about the importance of continued involvement in local politics. State Senators Holly Mitchell and Shirley Weber, the authors of important criminal justice reform bills this year, addressed the crowd. 

CJCJ staff participated in small group meetings with legislative staff, teaming up with members of many diverse California advocacy organizations. Once again, CJCJ is proud to have taken part in the Quest for Democracy Day, and to improve outcomes for those communities most impacted by our justice system. 

See CJCJ’s legislative priorities for 2016 »

Learn more about CJCJ »