Helping Jessup Inmates Stay Sober for 55 Years
JCI's chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous is the longest continuously-running prison-based AA in the country
(September 4, 2012)---Inmates, staff, and volunteers packed the library at Jessup Correctional Institution (JCI) on August 29 for a truly special celebration: the 55th anniversary of the nation’s longest continuously-running prison Alcoholics Anonymous (A A) group.
Officially called the Alpha Abstinence A A Group at JCI, the program has been in continuous operation since 1957. Volunteers began coming into the old House of Correction, and when the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) closed that ancient prison in 2007, the program seamlessly moved next-door to JCI without missing a meeting.
The 55th anniversary celebration featured two large cakes with decorated with a “55”, as well as certificates to the inmates and special recognition of staff. More than 80 inmates attended.
Sgt. Sonji Lynn, the hardworking Volunteer Activity Coordinator at JCI, who runs many inmate programs, was singled out for her years of service. “Given a chance, men do change,” says the longtime DPSCS veteran. “And these A A volunteers deserve a lot of credit for helping our inmates change their addictive behavior, which most of the time led to them committing the crimes that brought them into prison in the first place.”