Prisoners

The only requirement for SAA membership is a desire to stop addictive sexual behavior.

— Tradition Three, Sex Addicts Anonymous, p. 77.

The ISO maintains an active prisoner outreach program which is designed to provide SAA literature and other resources in support of sex addicts who are incarcerated. Upon request from a prisoner, the ISO offers to send literature and to identify a member of the fellowship able and willing to correspond with the prisoner.

Initially, prisoner outreach primarily focused on writing letters to prisoners with a goal of motivating them to work the Twelve Steps as best they could. As a result of the letter writing, a few SAA meetings were started in prisons, and local fellowships were occasionally able to gain clearance to go into the prisons and participate in meetings with prisoners.

To assist the ISO office with further development and expansion of the prisoner outreach program, the Prisoner Outreach Committee was formed. The program has broadened to include providing information to key prison officials and actively offering to support meetings inside prisons. The possibility of telephone or video meetings for prisoners is also being explored.

Prisoners face many obstacles in working the SAA program of recovery. Sponsorship in the prison setting is difficult and many times impossible. Literature may be stolen, and other prisoners may harass or even harm inmates who are open about their addiction. Correctional officers are often unsympathetic toward the idea of sex addiction and may take punitive action against an admitted sex addict.

As a result, the Prisoner Outreach Committee has developed guidelines for members of the fellowship who would like to correspond with prisoners. The guidelines recommend a systematic approach that is effective from the prisoner’s point of view and protects the personal anonymity and safety of the letter writer.

The guidelines may be found on the ISO service website in the member services section (password required) under “Prisoner Outreach” in the left-hand menu.

At the present time, the prisoner outreach program is limited to the United States, but members of the fellowship in other countries are exploring how the program might be implemented in their various homelands.

Family members or friends who feel that a prisoner might benefit from SAA should suggest that the prisoner contact the ISO at PO Box 70959, Houston, TX, 77270, for more information.