AA Inside Correctional Facilities: Resources - National Commission on Correctional Health Care
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AA ChairJun 9, 2023

AA Inside Correctional Facilities: Resources



Alcoholics Anonymous, the original 12-Step recovery program that has kept countless numbers of people sober, was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson, a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Robert Smith, an Akron surgeon, alcoholics who found that with each other’s support they were able to not drink. The day widely known as the date of Bob’s last drink, June 10, 1935, is celebrated as the founding date of AA. On that day, Wilson and Smith decided they would continue to work to stay sober by getting support from others who were struggling with the issue of alcohol dependence. Today, AA’s presence can be found in approximately 180 nations worldwide.

Many incarcerated individuals are alcoholics suffering from alcohol use disorder. According to a 2021 Bureau of Justice Statistic report, 31% of state prisoners and 25% of federal prisoners reported drinking alcohol at the time of the offense. Alcoholism, and alcohol withdrawal, is common in jails as well.

The Alcoholic Anonymous website, AA.org, contains a wealth of valuable information about alcoholism and the program, for both incarcerated individuals and facility staff:

A Message to Corrections Professionals: For correctional professionals including probation officers, prison administrators, and those in the judicial system who deal with alcoholics, this pamphlet offers information about what AA is and can do and how groups function in a correctional facility.

The AA Group Handbook for Groups That Meet in Correctional Facilities: Developed to be sent directly to AA groups that meet in correctional facilities but may have little or no contact with outside AA.

Carrying the Message into Correctional Facilities: Directed to AA members seeking to carry the message to incarcerated alcoholics, this leaflet presents basic information and suggests various ways to be of service, noting things to keep in mind when speaking in prisons and other correctional facilities.

It Sure Beats Sitting in a Cell: Illustrated pamphlet presents the experience of seven incarcerated alcoholics who found AA and got sober while in prison. Staple-free for distribution in correctional facilities.

The AA Corrections Prerelease Contact Program: This leaflet explains the procedures for AA members “on the outside” for connecting AA members being released from prison with Alcoholics Anonymous in their community.

Happy Founders Day!

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