Purpose: The purpose of all Hospitals and Institutions Committees is the same throughout Alcoholics Anonymous. That purpose is to carry the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to those that are confined in a Hospital or Institution and unable to attend regular free world meetings.
This has be primarily accomplished through doing "panels" inside these facilities for the residents. Sometimes the panelists are considered "guest speakers" for an inside facility meeting that is held regularly, and other times these panelists actually conduct the meeting.
Unfortunately there are many facilities, primarily correctional institutions that do not have any A.A. outside groups coming into the facility. And this is where the "Corrections Correspondence" program can take effect. There are many inmates who want to write to sober A.A. members in an attempt to stay sober and get into the A.A. program of recovery. There are numerous instances where this is also referred to as "sponsorship correspondence". All it is in reality is one alcoholic communicating with another, sharing their experience, strength, and hope. Not much different from what we do at our regular meetings, on our "panels", and even with those we sponsor.
What could be more fitting for an extension of H&I than an inmate correspondence program? Not only would this be a great benefit for the inmate, but think of the potential impact on the A.A. member doing this writing. It is a known fact that there are many who do not feel comfortable going into a prison facility, yet this could afford them an alternate way to help someone that is incarcerated. Of course this program is not designed for the shot term inmate, nor is it to be used for "personal" correspondence with someone you know, or at a facility where you do a panel. You would be corresponding with someone hundreds, (if not thousands) of miles away in a different state.
How it Works: All correspondence with inmates would be channeled through a post office box assuring total privacy and confidentiality of the writer's personal address. The writer's names is sent to A.A.W.S. Corrections desk in New York where it will be forwarded to an inmate who (had requested correspondence) with your name and the local (SoCal) P.O. box return address. When the inmate letter arrives at P.O. box it is placed (intact and sealed) in another envelope and forwarded to you. This will insure complete anonymity of your personal address.
Link: Corrections Committee Guidelines
Please print out the document below:
Inmates for the Correctional Correspondence Service Document
Corrections Volunteer Sheet