The Loaves & Fishes Jail Visitation Program is founded on the premise that everyone is worthwhile, that every person has an inner core of goodness, that every person should be treated with dignity and respect, and that we are called by Jesus to visit those in jail. Staff and volunteers who are trained, visit poor persons in jail, maintain contact between them and their families, rescue their meager possessions, advocate for them when possible in their court process, relate to them as persons of worth and supply basic necessities on their release from jail or prison.
Jail Visitation was founded in 1991 by Sister Maria Fitzgerald, a Catholic nun with the Congregation of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in response to the need of lonely incarcerated Loaves & Fishes guests. Originally created to visit only Loaves & Fishes guests, the program has been expanded to include any jailed person who has had the misfortune to be incarcerated and is utterly bereft of any human support. The incarcerated are mostly people of color, poor, and often mentally ill. There is a high likelihood they are incarcerated because of an alcohol or drug abuse-related crime.
Jail visitations are carried out by staff and volunteers in Sacramento County's main jail. They routinely visit incarcerated person awaiting resolution of their cases. To carry out their mission, those who visit are loving, caring and nonjudgmental to the poor and abandoned people they visit.
This program provides a number of social service and advocacy functions for jailed guests as a means to keep them connected to their loved ones through telephone calls and written correspondence. Through this program, advocates interact with jail personnel, attorneys, court personnel, or investigators on a guest's behalf. Staff also takes care of necessary minor business concerning any rehabilitative services and assists with any immediate emergency survival services upon their release.