Inmates at Chowchilla Women's Correctional Facility meet with families and exchange gifts

CHOWCHILLA, Calif. (KFSN) -- For the first time in almost a year Sherinda Walker is getting to see her mom.

"I couldn't even imagine, it is wonderful," she said. "I know as much as she would like to be home with the family and as much as we would like her at home, this makes it a whole lot easier for both sides."

Walker, her two children and aunt drove two and a half hours from Antioch to the Women's Correctional Facility in Chowchilla. Walker has never seen her mother during the holidays since her mom was incarcerated.

"It has been some years, so trying to get adjusted to not having her during this times is still kind of hard," she said.

That's all changed at the visitors center Friday morning. It was decorated by inmates to look like Whoville from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It was full of holiday cheer and warm embraces. Inmates also hand-delivered gifts, as part of the Angel Tree Program. Children wrote down what they wanted, the Prison Fellowship then got them. Inmates then selected gifts.

"They were able to come into the gymnasium and shop for the gifts and then after they shopped for the gifts they were able to wrap them," said Joe Avila with Prison Fellowship.

The outcome is a holiday extravaganza that families won't soon forget. Santa even made an appearance.

"For some women, they haven't been able to sit and exchange gifts with their children for 20 years some 25 years so it is a really exciting event," said Janel Espinoza, Warden.

For Alina Ramos presents are an added bonus.

"It is not about the presents, it is about the family and spending time with your family," said Ramos.

This is the first time the prison has participated in Angel Tree. Each child got two gifts and a total of 300 were handed out.
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