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What AA Can Offer The Probation and Criminal Justice Services

Overview of Co-operation between AA and Probation/Criminal Justice Services

Alcoholics Anonymous in Great Britain is structured into a number of geographical service areas known as Intergroups. Although these are not coterminous with Probation and Scottish Social Services areas, each Intergroup does have a responsibility to liaise with those Probation Offices and Scottish Social Services Offices that exist within its boundaries. There is no standard national structure for these liaison arrangements, each Intergroup being free to liaise in accordance with its own local circumstances. However, described below are mechanisms that have been utilised in various parts of the country. Although it is for local services to determine together which of these mechanisms they consider to be the most beneficial to meet their local needs, they are listed here to show what AA is able to offer the Probation and Criminal Justice Services.

Volunteer List

This is a list of AA volunteers who are available to talk to offenders who express an interest in AA as a possible solution to their drinking problem. The AA member may meet the offender either at the local Office or elsewhere and offer to take them to an AA meeting.

Confirmation-of-Attendance System

Where the Criminal Justice System requires the offender who attends AA meetings to produce a record of attendance, this can be arranged by the meeting Secretary giving the offender at the end of the meeting a numbered 'chit' to give to their Offender Manager.

Input and Presentation to Groups

AA members can give talks and presentations to the meetings and training events of Offender Managers, Magistrates and Sheriffs, Judges, Court Officials, Police and Lawyers.


The first National AA/Probation Seminar was held in Beaconsfield in 1997. It continued to be held annually for some ten years. The seminar now takes the form of a more generic AA service conference, but it still contains input by by people working in AA/Probation Liaison.

Open AA meetings

Offender Managers are always welcome to attend open meetings of AA to help them to experience a typical AA meeting, and to see how AA works. Intergroups produce directories of the AA meetings in their area, and open meetings are indicated in these directories. They are available from the respective Intergroup Liaison Officer.