Guidelines for Corrections Correspondence Service
Welcome to one of the most rewarding and rarely mentioned forms of Twelfth Step work.
In addition to observing the rules in Correctional Facilities regarding mail and correspondence, the following are suggested guidelines drawn from shared experience to help you when writing to A.A. members on the “inside:” To begin, remember that when writing to an inmate, you must use your last name on the envelope or it will not be accepted by most institutions. The G.S.O. does not forward CCS mail.
1. We introduce ourselves by qualifying briefly in our opening letter.
2. We try to let the inmate know that writing, like all forms of sharing, helps us as much as it helps him or her.
3. We let the inmate know that he or she is not alone.
4. Most correspondents use their home address, since we match up correspondents from different regions. Some correspondents ask permission of their A.A. group or intergroup/central office to use the office P.O. Box for receiving mail.
5. We share sobriety and sobriety only.
6. We have found it best for all concerned if no emotional or romantic involvements develop.
7. If there is a desire to send a gift for a special occasion, we make it an A.A. book, A.A. literature, or Grapevine material. (Before sending literature, see if the facility will allow it. Many Correctional Facilities will permit inmates to receive only literature sent directly from the publishers.) Also, some facilities do not allow inmates to receive stamps or preaddressed, stamped envelopes.
8. In the spirit of the Twelfth Tradition, we respect the anonymity of our correspondents.
9. We encourage “inside” A.A. group activity and stress that first meeting the day the inmate leaves confinement.
10. We encourage “inside” correspondents to notify G.S.O. prior to their release so that G.S.O. can set up a prerelease contact from their home community.
Thank you for your willingness to share in this most important work.