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Religion in Prison

General Discussion

"When you are stripped of your freedom, your job, your family, you begin to seek your purpose in life, and through that you find someone greater than yourself, God."

This statement was made by an inmate in a maximum security state institution in response to the question, "What is the meaning of religion in prison? It provides some insight into the fascinating story to be told by inmates about religion in the correctional environment.

The story of religion in the correctional setting however, has been largely untold in criminological research. In fact, a surprisingly limited amount of scientific research has been conducted in the area and what has been attempted is primarily non-empirical, topical and highly subjective. This neglect of the story is interesting seeming religion and corrections are historically linked and religious programs in correctional facilities are commonplace.

The purpose of this Web page is to shed some light on this impor tant but understudied topic. Included herein are the results of over ten years of study about the practice of religion in the correctional environment. It contains texts and summaries of research conducted in the area. I am still learning about the topic. Each time I visit a correctional facility, speak with an inmate or ex-offender, or meet with a Chaplain, I acquire new knowledge. If you find the information provided to be contrary to your experience, or you are aware of new research on the topic, please let me know. I would welcome your response. Please contact me.

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