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Religions 2014, 5(3), 663-683;

The Resurgence of Religion in America’s Prisons

Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA
Institute for Studies of Religion, One Bear Place, Baylor University, Waco, TX 76798, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 May 2014 / Revised: 1 July 2014 / Accepted: 11 July 2014 / Published: 4 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Studies in the Sociology of Religion)
Full-Text   |   PDF [106 KB, uploaded 4 August 2014]


This article discusses the growing prominence of “faith-based” programs in American corrections and the historical context of penal regime change during periods of economic crisis. The article traces areas of overlap and divergence in recent discussions of penal reform in the U.S. The article suggests a new American penitentiary movement is emerging, noting central tenets of faith-based programs have salience for both conservatives and liberals: on the one hand, faith-based programs are largely paid for by church congregations and volunteers, which appeals to conservatives’ desire to shrink government and get taxpayers out of the business of community building; on the other, faith-based programs demonstrate a recommitment to having at least some level of programming in prisons, which satisfies the left’s view that community building and social capital ultimately lower recidivism. The paper documents several prominent faith-based correctional programs while articulating an agenda for research. View Full-Text
Keywords: prisons; penitentiary; religion prisons; penitentiary; religion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Hallett, M.; Johnson, B. The Resurgence of Religion in America’s Prisons. Religions 2014, 5, 663-683.

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