Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Religion in Prison
Harry R. Dammer
Throughout the long history of corrections, religious persons and religious institutions have greatly influenced the treatment of offenders. For centuries, churches were among the first institutions to provide asylum for accused criminals. The actual establishment of prisons and penitentiaries was a religious idea that allowed the offender to do penance for his or her crimes, make amends, and convert while being isolated from others. But probably the most significant influence was the establishment of a regular chaplaincy. Correctional chaplains were among the earliest paid noncustodial staff and were the first to provide education and counseling for inmates. Currently, many prisoners practice their religion on an individual basis or within the structure of an organized religious program. Religious programs are commonplace in jails and prisons, and research indicates that one in three inmates participates in some religious program during incarceration. The influence and practice of religion in the correctional setting is ...