Message to Prison Service Professionals

What prison service professionals may want to know about A.A.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women whose primary purpose is to stay sober and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. A.A. work is done by A.A. members on a voluntary basis.

A.A. has no central authority and almost no structural organization. A.A. does operate a General Service Office in York that is the central information hub and the registered charity.


Prison Service professionals, A.A. members, and inmates themselves interested in starting a new A.A. group for inmates will get help from A.A.’s General Service Office.

G.S.O. will provide the pamphlet “A.A. in Prisons,” a Group Handbook and other A.A. literature.

Many local A.A. service committees will, upon request, provide informational presentations for your organisation.

Sessions can be tailored to meet your needs.


A typical agenda might include one or several A.A. films and a presentation by one or more A.A. members on “What A.A. Is and What It Is Not.”

Please look at the ‘Contact Us’ page for local & National Contact Numbers.

A.A. wants to work with you

Cooperation with the professional community is an objective of A.A., and has been since our beginnings. We are always seeking to strengthen and expand our communication with you, and we welcome your comments and suggestions. They help us to work more effectively with you in achieving our common purpose: to help the alcoholic who still suffers.


Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Anonymity is a vital part of our philosophy which gives assurance and comfort to anyone thinking of seeking our help.

All work undertaken by members of Alcoholics Anonymous is entirely voluntary.

It is our aim to have access to all inmates, whether in the main prison or prison hospitals, to offer the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery programme through its membership.

Alcoholics Anonymous has been carrying its message into prison establishments since the late fifties; the co-operation and understanding from governors and prison staff has made this possible.

Alcoholics Anonymous is involved in the majority of prison establishments throughout Great Britain. There are a number of services which are available to the inmate:

  •  MEETINGS – The principal path to AA recovery where direct contact with other alcoholics offers guidance, support and encouragement.
  •  VISITS – AA members are willing to visit those inmates unable to attend meetings.
  •  PRISON POSTAL SERVICE – where inmates may correspond with prison sponsors via our service address.
  •  BEFORE RELEASE – The inmate who is attending AA meetings within the establishment during his/her sentence can be met on release where necessary and arrangements made to take him/her along to an AA meeting – this encourages the inmate to carry on attending AA on his/her release.

SUPPORT FOR PRISON STAFF – AA members attend the establishment, when requested, to inform staff on what AA has to offer.

  1.  Informing them that there is an AA meeting within the prison – day and time – procedure.
  2.  That AA literature is available.
  3.  AA members will answer any questions relating to our programme of recovery that may be asked of them by the staff. 
  4. AA members are freely available to provide information to groups of inmates during their imprisonment on all matters relating to AA.