On Wednesday, January 23, Osborne's New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents launched #BringBackVisitBuses, an effort to let our legislators know that we want Prison Visiting Buses to be fully funded in this year’s state budget. 

Building and maintaining strong family connections is critical for families dealing with a family member's incarceration. But most of those incarcerated in New York State's 50+ prisons are more than 100 miles from home, in locations that are difficult if not impossible to reach by public or affordable transportation. 

More than 80,000 children have a parent incarcerated in a New York State prison. The large majority of these children want and need to visit their parents. Programs to support visiting contribute to the well-being of families and communities and are consistent with goals for successful reentry and reintegration after release.

From 1973 to 2011, the state's Prison Visiting Buses program provided transportation to New York's prisons at no cost to families. We are asking all supporters to take part in #BringBackVisit Buses to bring back this critical lifeline that makes it possible for the thousands of children and families to visit a loved one incarcerated in a New York State prison. Currently, too many children are unable to visit an incarcerated parent consistently, if at all.

Steps you can take to support #BringBackVisitBuses:  

  1. Call Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Andrea Stewart-Cousins 2018 Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to let them know we want funding for the visiting buses included in the State Budget.

    Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins: (518) 455-2585
    Assemblymember Carl Heastie: (518) 455-3791
  2. Tweet, post, and share this image with your friends, colleagues, and include @CarlHeastie and @AndreaSCousins in your post.

    Sample language: 
    @CarlHeastie and @AndreaSCousins please include funding to #BringBackVisitBuses in the State budget. Visiting supports rehabilitation, reentry, &well-being. The buses made visiting possible for thousands- we need them back!?

    I believe funding to restore the Family Visting Buses must be in the State Budget. Visiting supports rehabilitation, reentry, and well-being. More families could visit their loved ones in New York State prisons if buses were available.

  3. Learn more about why proximity matters for the health and well-being of children and families dealing with incarceration. 
  4. Join the SUSU Network, a growing movement to see and support children of incarcerated parents. You will recieve updates about NYCIP activities as well as more steps you can take to support children.