AN EXPLORATION INTO PARTICIPATION IN A FAITH-BASED PRISON PROGRAM

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Abstract:

Research Summary:

The current research investigates the faith, sociodemographic, psychological, and criminal history factors associated with the decision to volunteer for a faith-based program. Operational records were combined with data collected from self-administered surveys. The results of the logistic regression model were successful in identifying factors related to program participation, including factors not included in previous studies. The findings suggest that program participants are motivated to make changes in their lives and are seeking their way in a religious sense. For example, program participants scored higher on average on the motivation for change scale used here, had higher rates of attendance in religious services since incarceration, and were more active in reading sacred scripture. Conversely, inmates who claimed higher levels of knowledge about their faith were less likely to participate in the Life Connections Program examined here. Policy Implications:

The results of the analysis suggest that certain religious characteristics are associated with participation in a faith-based program. The implication is that religious program providers need to pay attention to the match between the program content and the charactertistics of their potential program participants. The results also demonstrate the need to capture differences between participants and comparison subjects on dimensions not usually included in evaluations of faith-based programs. Without knowledge of the selection process, there is no way to determine whether observed differences between program participants and “comparisons” are due to actual program effects or are an artifact of preexisting differences between the groups.

Keywords: Faith-Based; Prison; Prison Programming; Religion

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9133.2006.00387.x

Affiliations: Social Science Research Analyst for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Her research interests include community corrections, reentry initiatives, and inmate motivation to enter treatment programs

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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