More than 200 children were expected to visit their incarcerated fathers for Christmas, and participate in the Place4Grace Toys and Trees Holiday Program at Calipatria State Prison (CAL) in Imperial County.
This is the fourth annual event at the level four, maximum-security facility. Since 2009, the program has served children at various CDCR institutions throughout the state, including Valley State Prison (VSP) for Women, Chuckawalla, Ironwood, and Men’s Colony state prisons.
Each child receives a special gift “with love from Daddy,” distributed with the assistance of the Calipatria Fire Department. Festivities include a visit from Santa, who hands out candy canes, goody bags and a photo token to each child during the visit with his or her father.
Lighted Christmas trees and other festive holiday decorations are on hand, so that families can take holiday photos together. Craft supplies are provided to allow children to make tree ornaments with their fathers.
Special guests included Warden Gerald Janda, incoming Calipatria Mayor Raul Navarro, Mayor Pro-Tem Maria Froelich, and City Councilman Fred Beltran.
The Place4Grace offers services and programs to address the needs of children who have been traumatized by the incarceration of a parent. P4G conducted the first Father & Child Camp Behind Bars in the state. It also conducts a father and child literacy program.