fact that the majority of criminal acts committed
in North America occur after the perpetrator has
been drinking (usually heavily) is reason enough
for the fact that A.A. meetings in prisons and
jails for both men and women are now the rule
rather than the exception, not only in the United
States and Canada, but around a good deal of the
globe. Although he or she may not be inclined
to boast about it, a good number of A.A.'s most
active members attended their first A.A. meeting
while serving time in a jail or prison.
500 letters a month arrive at the General Service
Office from prisoners who may request literature or
ask for information about starting a new group,
advice regarding group disputes or help in making
contacts with outside A.A. sponsors. Local
institutions committees, which have increased in
number considerably during the past decade, are
often encouraged by correctional officials to bring
speakers to prison meetings from outside the walls,
especially A.A. members who, at one time or
another, have served time themselves. Inmates
are almost always grateful for this seconhand taste
of a free life and the living reminder of the
opportunity for a sobriety that awaits the majority
of them, a day at a time, upon parole or
"outside" A.A.s also do Twelfth Step work by
volunteering for the Corrections Correspondence
Service. G.S.O.'s Correctional Facilities
coordinator matches up inmate requests for outside
correspondents with A.A.s wishing to correspond
with A.A.s on the "inside." www.alcoholics-anonymous.org
local area Correctional Facilities committees often
set up networks of prerelease contacts so inmates
will have immediate contact with A.A. in the area
where they will settle after incarceration.
completely reliable estimate of the number of A.A.
members in correctional institutions today in North
America is impossible to make, but the number of
A.A. member inmates in detention facilities
probably lies somewhere in the vicinity of
51,000. At any rate, G.S.O.'s Correctional
Facilities desk records 1,085 (2,500 in 2002)
groups presently meeting in penal institutions of
various sorts in the U.S. and Canada in 1995.
Most of them have full status as bona fide,
recognized, regular A.A. groups, and, incredibly,
about a dozen of them have made recent
contributions to G.S.O.'s General Fund. "The
language of the heart" is spoken everywhere.
A Family Album and Souvenir of the
International AA Convention,
San Diego, Calif.
June 29-July2,1995-60 years
Reprinted by permission of A.A. World
in TREATMENT FACILITIES
a newcomer to bridge the gap between the cocoon
like life in a hospital or treatment center and
becoming sober, active member in the Fellowship is
possibly the oldest, and one of the most critical,
challenges Alcoholics Anonymous holds out to any of
story of how, in 1935 Bill W. and Dr. Bob S.
visited A.A. number three, Bill D.- known as
the man on the bed-in an Akron, Ohio,
hospital has become a Fellowship legend. Dr.
Bobs Herculean Twelfth-Step activities at St.
Thomas Hospital before his death in 1950 is
another. So spectacular were the thousands of
recoveries attributed to Dr. Bob and nurse Sister
Ignatia, that Bill frequently referred to his
co-founder as the Prince of
Barely sober alcoholics today may come from one of
a number of different sorts of institutions, after
which they are encouraged to start working the A.A.
program as soon as possible. For many, this is not
quite as simple as it sounds. Where do they go?
What do they do? Whom can they trust?
For this reason, A.A. members are encouraged at all
levels-local, state and area-wide-to participate in
one of the more than 400 Treatment Facilities
committees that are presently in contact with the
Treatment Facilities desk at the General Service
These local T.F. committees are designed to
help alcoholics in any kind of treatment program,
even the shortest, to make the tricky transition
from a regulated environment to the real world,
with all its temptations, beyond its
front door. Experience has shown that one of the
most slippery paths in the world is that short one
between an alcoholism treatment center and a local
cocktail lounge, gin mill or liquor store."