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Religions 2011, 2(4), 590-610; doi:10.3390/rel2040590
Article

The Sociology of Humanist, Spiritual, and Religious Practice in Prison: Supporting Responsivity and Desistance from Crime

1,*  and 2
Received: 20 September 2011; Accepted: 24 October 2011 / Published: 2 November 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Studies in the Sociology of Religion)
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Abstract: This paper presents evidence for why Corrections should take the humanist, spiritual, and religious self-identities of people in prison seriously, and do all it can to foster and support those self-identities, or ways of establishing meaning in life. Humanist, spiritual, and religious (H/S/R) pathways to meaning can be an essential part of the evidence-based responsivity principle of effective correctional programming, and the desistance process for men and women involved in crime. This paper describes the sociology of the H/S/R involvement of 349 women and 3,009 men during the first year of their incarceration in the Oregon prison system. Ninety-five percent of the women and 71% of the men voluntarily attended at least one H/S/R event during their first year of prison. H/S/R events were mostly led by diverse religious and spiritual traditions, such as Native American, Protestant, Islamic, Wiccan, Jewish, Jehovah Witness, Latter-day Saints/Mormon, Seventh Day Adventist, Buddhist, and Catholic, but, increasingly, events are secular or humanist in context, such as education, yoga, life-skills development, non-violent communication, and transcendental meditation groups. The men and women in prison had much higher rates of H/S/R involvement than the general population in Oregon. Mirroring gender-specific patterns of H/S/R involvement found in the community, women in prison were much more likely to attend H/S/R events than men.
Keywords: prison; humanist; spiritual; religious; responsivity; desistance; gender; religion; corrections; treatment prison; humanist; spiritual; religious; responsivity; desistance; gender; religion; corrections; treatment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

O’Connor, T.P.; Duncan, J.B. The Sociology of Humanist, Spiritual, and Religious Practice in Prison: Supporting Responsivity and Desistance from Crime. Religions 2011, 2, 590-610.

AMA Style

O’Connor TP, Duncan JB. The Sociology of Humanist, Spiritual, and Religious Practice in Prison: Supporting Responsivity and Desistance from Crime. Religions. 2011; 2(4):590-610.

Chicago/Turabian Style

O’Connor, Tom P.; Duncan, Jeff B. 2011. "The Sociology of Humanist, Spiritual, and Religious Practice in Prison: Supporting Responsivity and Desistance from Crime." Religions 2, no. 4: 590-610.

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