The Corrections Committee meets on the 4th Wednesday of every month at 6:30 PM at the Alano Club (10728—124 Street NW, Edmonton, AB)
There is always a need for both male and female volunteers to take the message of recovery into prisons. If you are an AA member who would like to volunteer to do work with our Corrections Committee, please fill out the online form here.
The Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was in its seventh year when a pioneering warden at San Quentin asked nearby AA's to carry the message to alcoholics in the prison. The year was 1942—the warden was Clinton Duffy. He was heard to say, “If the AA program will help just one man, I want to start it.” Today there are hundreds of AA groups behind the walls, as well as corrections committees serving them. In 1977, the General Service Conference recommended that the Institutions Committee be dissolved and two new committees—one dealing with Corrections, and one with Treatment Facilities—be formed. The 1983 General Service Conference recommended that a Corrections Workbook be developed for carrying the AA message into correctional facilities.
Why AA's Carry the Message Behind the Walls
Many AA members are unaware of the important work being carried out by corrections committees. To those involved however, corrections work is an opportunity to carry the A.A. message to the confined alcoholic who wants to live sober, one day at a time. Through a corrections committee working with corrections personnel, alcoholics are reached who might never otherwise find the A.A. program. An active corrections committee is a vital link to prisons and jails, providing professionals and other workers in correctional facilities with information about AA, literature, and guidelines for setting up AA groups on the inside.
AA Volunteers in Correctional Facilities
AA members wishing to carry our message to alcoholics behind the walls of correctional facilities should understand that we always do so within the regulations of such institutions. AA members are usually treated no differently than other volunteers and, therefore, they are usually subject to the same regulations. Since regulations can and do vary, AA members will need to be informed about the specific rules and regulations for each facility they would like to enter. To that end, good communication between corrections administrators and local AA committees is essential. Following are some common volunteer regulations that AA members may be required to follow:
- Facilities may require AA volunteers to sign agreements stating that the AA member will comply with local, state, and federal regulations regarding correctional facilities and prisoners.
- Facilities may not allow AA volunteers to be on the visitors list of any inmate currently in that facility.
- Facilities may not allow AA volunteers to take phone calls from inmates currently in that facility.
- Facilities may not allow AA volunteers to have any contact with the families of an inmate currently in that facility.
Deciding to participate in Corrections Twelfth Step work is an important individual decision. AA members should carefully read all paperwork required by correctional facilities, and fully understand and be willing to comply with all rules and regulations prior to commencing such work.
From A Letter by Bill W. to a prison group in 1949:
Every AA has been, in a sense, a prisoner. Each of us has walled himself out of society; each has known social stigma. The lot of you folks has been even more difficult: In your case, society has also built a wall around you. But there isn’t any real essential difference, a fact that practically all AA's now know. Therefore, when you members come into the world of AA on the outside, you can be sure that no one will care a fig that you have done time. What you are trying to be—not what you were—is all that counts with us.
If you want more information about work in Corrections in the Edmonton Area, please contact the Corrections chair at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply visit our Central Office.