Narcotics Anonymous in Prisons
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Narcotics Anonymous started in the UK in August 1980, there are now over 1250 NA meetings a week taking place in the community. We also hold meetings in numerous rehabs, detoxes and prisons. Since the Covid19 outbreak we also operate around 880 UK based online NA meetings a week.
Narcotics Anonymous has been facilitating NA meetings in UK prisons since 1983. Prior to Covid we operated over 50 regular prison meetings. In our 2020 survey we discovered that just over 4% of our members first heard about NA whilst in prison. 737 (53.5%) of the respondents in that survey said they had been convicted of a crime prior to going to NA meetings, of that group, with prior convictions, 88% stated there had been no further convictions since attending NA.
We ae regularly asked by prisons to start meetings. In order to facilitate these we have a pool of local NA members who are willing to organise and support the meeting. Local prisons in and around cities tend to be well supported but facilitating meetings in more remote areas can be problematic. There have been instances where NA members have travelled long distances to facilitate and support prison meetings.
The nature of addiction means that many of our members have previous convictions. Ironically these are often the people most suited to working with inmates. On occasion, this has lead to problems with security clearance for some of our members willing to support prison meetings. HMPPS and PHE have acknowledged research on the benefits of mutual aid and published guidance on this issue
NA will not agree to facilitate a meeting unless it has the willing volunteers to maintain that meeting. Because most of our members are in full time employment and NA prison meetings generally take place in the day, we require a large pool of members to run meetings. There is no charge to the establishment for facilitating the meetings as the service is free. NA is self-supporting and accepts funding from no one other than its members.
If you would like to to find out more about NA facilitating a meeting in a Prison please contact our Hospitals and Institutions Committee at:
Inmate literature requests
The NA service office will send out a 'NA Basic Text' for free to prisoners who write in and request it. Individuals need to send a letter with their details to UK Service Office, 202 City Road, London EC1V 2PH.
NA operates a 'Sponsorship' service for those in prison. We match up people who write in requesting a sponsor with NA Members of the same sex who have at least 2 years of continuous abstinence from all drugs. A sponsor would have an ongoing understanding of working the 12 steps (Our guiding principles). Anyone in prison who wants to find out more should write to: Sponsor Request UKHI, UK Service Office, 202 City Road, London EC1V 2PH