Easter Bunny’s visit to SQ brings joy to residents and their families
Easter weekend meant a day of togetherness with family and friends in San Quentin’s visiting room this April.
The San Quentin Easter Spectacular, held on April 8, was a first of its kind event put on by San Quentin’s Acting Warden Oak Smith and Public Information Officer Lt. Guim’Mara Berry. The goal was to bring a different feel to the visiting room experience for the Easter celebration
“We’re trying to normalize life for the population,” said Smith, who attended the event with his wife. “And part of that is being able to come in and do things that we don’t normally do in visiting, which is important.”
Smith served popcorn and cotton candy to the residents and their families.
“It feels great to see the families here enjoying themselves as well as seeing the kids eating popcorn and cotton candy,” Public Information Officer Berry said. “I think it’s nice and creates a great atmosphere for everyone.”
The three-hour event included music performed by residents of The Q, as well as arts and crafts activities for the children. The kids also got a kick out of a correctional officer dressed up as “Leroy the Bunny.”
“Easter is a great time of the year,” Smith said. “This is going to be more of the norm of doing things like this ― having the team coming out to more family events.”
Sgt. J. Graves said the event was “awesome.” She said seeing the families interacting with everyone and taking pictures gives residents a chance to allow their loved ones to see them in a different light.
“As San Quentin moves towards the governor’s vision of the prison becoming a rehabilitation center, events such as this inspire hope that change is possible.”
Keith Cash Sr., a minister from Bakersfield, and his wife attended the Easter celebration. They were visiting their incarcerated son. “It’s truly a blessing to be here today to share some time with my son,” Cash Sr. said.
He also spoke about the meaning of Easter to his family. “This is a day of forgiving …. We should take this time to be grateful for the things that we have. We should be thankful that Jesus died for our sins and that we can celebrate today that we have life after this life right here,” he said.
Nicholas Casteel, a resident of The Q, expressed his joy at being there with his family. “This is such a special day … I’m so grateful to the warden for making this available to us.”
“There’s no place I’d rather be,” said Casteel’s mother, Dana. “Although we want Nicholas home, having the jazz music and the other festivities brings a little bit of home into here and it feels amazing.”
What more can one say?