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Corrections Facilities Commitments

Carry the message to incarcerated alcoholics

Get Started

Are you interested in carrying our message of recovery to alcoholics behind the walls? You can either commit to taking a meeting into prison or assist inmates as they transition to daily life through the Bridging the Gap program. The resources below contain everything you need to get started. If you have any questions, please reach out to the committee by emailing corrections@lancasteraa.org

Bridging the Gap

Sign up to bring newly released inmates to a meeting. These inmates have asked to connect with AA. This can also be a great homegroup service commitment!

To participate, fill out the volunteer form on page 4 of the Bridging the Gap pamphlet here.

Mail completed forms to:

Lancaster AA Central Service Office
C/O: Bridging the Gap Coordinator
630 Janet Ave., Suite D150
Lancaster, PA. 17601

For Bridging the Gap email – bridgingthegap@lancasteraa.org.

In-Prison Meetings

To volunteer to take meetings to the prison, there is a process and some requirements. Please contact us through one of the methods below to get started. You will need to complete a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History clearance. Please complete the clearance online to expedite the process, or complete the forms below. You will also be required to attend training at the Lancaster County Prison. There is a requirement that you are not on probation. We also request that you have 1 year of continuous sobriety. Pennsylvania Child Abuse History clearance needs to be completed at least 1 week prior to the training session.

Join the Team

Read our "How to" Guide to becoming an AA Prison Meeting Volunteer

Background Check

Download and return the below document to:

Lancaster County Prison
Attn: Deputy Joe Shiffer
625 East King St
Lancaster, PA 17602

Child Abuse Clearance

Complete the Online Application or Download and return the Offline Application to:

Childline and Abuse Registry
PA Department of Human Services
P.O. Box 8170
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8170

PA will reply with your certification. You may want to make a copy before sending it to use for other purposes.

Prison Volunteer FAQ

We ask that you have a minimum of one year of sobriety, but there is some
flexibility to consider individuals with less time on a case-by-case basis.

Yes. The prison administration considers volunteer applications on a caseby-case basis. The amount of time required from when you completed your
last sentence will vary based on the type of offense and the circumstances
of the case.

Although you will not be working with children, the Child Abuse History
Certification is required by the prison administration as an additional layer
of background checking.

Depending on when you received the certification, you may not need to be
recertified. Simply include a copy of your current certification with your
prison access application.

The entire process to be approved as a volunteer can take several months
or more. The prison administration needs to vet your application and
schedule you for fingerprinting and training.

The training for prison service volunteers is a four-hour session conducted
by prison officials. It covers basic safety topics, such proper attire,
restricted personal items and guidelines for interacting with inmates, as well
as a general overview of the operation of the prison and its mission. The
training sessions are held on an irregular schedule, so you may have to
wait to a month or more to get on the schedule.

We go into the prison in teams of two. As a new volunteer, you will be
paired with an experienced member. The prison doesn’t have a rule for
how many volunteers are needed to conduct a meeting, so we have held
meetings with just one volunteer in a pinch, but this will only happen with
an experienced volunteer and only in rare circumstances.

This varies, of course, but we typically have anywhere from 6 to 12 inmates
for each of the men’s meetings and 15 or more for the women’s meetings.

The meetings are much the same as any AA meeting on the outside. They
last one hour and are literature based. We have a format we follow that
keeps the meetings consistent and orderly.

There’s very little risk to our prison volunteers. Corrections officers (guards)
are always close by, and the inmate populations we serve are not doing
time for serious violent crimes. There may be occasional disturbances in
the blocks that require responses from corrections officers, but we have
never had an experience where one of our volunteers felt threatened.