Research Paper on the Effectiveness of Faith-Based Prison Programs on Recidivism Rates in the United States

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1682 Words
Date:  2022-12-14


One of every ten detainees is reincarcerated within three years of their release from jail (Durose et al., 2014). In the United States, almost seven-hundred thousand individuals are discharged from prison every year (Johnson, 2008). Sixty-six percent of freed detainees are captured again within three years either for another wrongdoing or for damaging the terms of their freedom, and fifty-two percent end up back in jail (Durose et al., 2014). There is a lot of faith-based prisons in the U.S. By 2005, nineteen states and the government had a type of private religious program, focused at rehabilitating member prisoners by guiding them on matters such as substance abuse, victim restitution, anger management, and ethical decision-making related to religious standards (Baier & Wright, 2001). The InnerChange Freedom program under Establishment Clause in 2006, still exists, incorporating its services to different regions (Mears, 2007). These programs are explicitly driven by Biblical and Christian standards and are presumably progressively powerless against sacred difficulties; agendas which are increasingly interdenominational and have fewer explicit spiritual guidelines.

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Faith-based services have been instilled in the context of correctional programs from the late 1800s. In spite of this broadened lease, an insignificant study has explicitly analyzed the responsibility and effectiveness of structured, formal religious programming in connection to the prisoner's behaviors. The lack of adequate empirical research has contributed to an absence of theoretical advancement to direct specialists as to any possible advantages of religious programming. Some researchers have demonstrated that cooperation in organized religious projects can diminish recidivism (Baier & Wright, 2001). Daggett et al. (2008) inspected factors that might be critical in regards to whether members complete the whole 18-month LCP program. The researchers found that people who have had past social issues while detained were not bound to fail (Daggett et al., 2008). This finding is especially vital from a policy viewpoint because more elevated amounts of unfortunate behavior have recently been demonstrated to anticipate impending unlawful conduct for different types of prison programs. People thought to be at a higher risk (that is, with indicators of criminal history) appear to be taking part and flourishing in the LCP.

Participation by detainees in numerous prison Bible studies directed by Prison Fellowship decreased their recidivism by sixty-six percent (Johnson, 2004). Detainees associated with a religious program in Belgian prisons, which went under the administration of Prison Fellowship, had a sixteen percent rate of re-capture, while those engaged with the work-based program had a thirty-six percent rate. Belgian's average recidivism is sixty to seventy percent (Stamatakis & Vandeviver, 2013). In a study by Johnson (2008), ex-convicts in the InnerChange Freedom program were 50% less inclined to be re-captured than the corresponding correlation set. The two-year, post-discharge, re-capture rate among InnerChange Freedom Initiative program graduates was seventeen percent, compared to thirty-five percent for the coordinated correlation group (Johnson, 2008).

Faith-based projects try to encourage character change through the improvement of religious practice as well as a good introduction. Helpful equity programs happen to fix the damage brought about by a criminal demonstration by holding guilty parties individually responsible to the general population they have abused and attempting to reestablish the passionate and material misfortunes of abused individuals (Swanson, 2009). Statistics by Armour et al. (2008) demonstrate that 74 of the Restoring Peace members were set free after 15 months. Four have faced imprisonment for new wrongdoings, some involving violence. The recidivism rate for the general jail populace in one year is seven-point-two percent in comparison to five-point-four percent for the free members (Armour et al., 2008). Importance of religious programs in the Jail was that it helped in improving the prisoner's mentality and be open to outside and questionable condition, a reality that may be underestimated if there is a consideration after diminishing recidivism (Camp et al., 2006). The research found that more youthful prisoners in their investigation religion as a guide in their mental change by detainment and that more established detainees had fewer violations of violent behavior if they religiously involved (Camp et al., 2008).

Churches Embracing Offenders (CEOs) is a non-profit prisoner re-entry and diversion program which takes care of the social, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of nonviolent criminals living in the community or released from prison or correctional facilities. The program was set up in 2000 with seventeen places of worship. By 2016, the churches had grown to one-hundred and thirty in seven regions. When acknowledged, customers get assigned a mentor from a nearby church. The requirement for essential facilities for criminals in the society was rather vibrant although the CEO's primary attention is on resistance through devoutness. Consideration regarding essential needs should come in before wrongdoers can concentrate on spiritual desires. Practically, Robert and Stacer (2016) revealed that out of the thirteen interviewed graduates, fifty percent have worked as volunteers or mentors to other offenders, thus demonstrating how prisoners who go through such programs undergo significant transformations to the extent that they wish to use their new prosocial identities in helping those who are in the same situation as theirs. In assessments of community and faith-based programs, it is not easy to compare such effectiveness among prisoners and ex-prisoners. Even though the CEO is a potential catch for change, unmistakably some people fail to benefit from it (Roberts & Stacer, 2016).

Even though America's detainees are changing from jails to societies over the years, the powerful legislative and academic spotlight on the subject of "detainee reentry" is moderately novel. Broadly, ninety-five percent of detainees admitted to correctional programs will, in the long run, be free. From the 4,157 entrances detainment facilities for new lawful criminal felonies in 2012, approximately sixty-nine percent had a chance of being released in two years, while over ninety percent served a jail term of five years (Duncan et al., 2018). The Cox regression study shows that support in High-Risk Revocation Reduction Reentry (HRRR) fundamentally brought down the danger of administered discharge reconvictions and revocations 43 and 28% respectively (Duncan et al., 2018). Irrespective of control or treatment group membership, accepting more reentry help radically diminished supervision re-arrest and revocation. Investigations additionally uncovered that assistance with employment, including sponsored jobs, was particularly effective in recidivism reduction.

Additionally, male prisoners are more likely to be rearrested for infringing their release policies. Among guilty parties discharged from Minnesota state detainment facilities in 2009, twenty-eight percent of the female discharges were more likely to be imprisoned again compared to thirty-eight percent of male releases (Clark, 2015). This examination uncovered that HRRR remained additional prolific at decreasing re-offense than another prior reentry. A fundamental purpose behind HRRR's prosperity in these past reentry activities is possible that, regardless of some new execution barriers, the program's implementation was done with loyalty.


Faith-based programs continue being encouraged as promoting avenues for change, mainly on the fact that they show an improvement in prison discipline and a reduction in recidivism. Unfortunately, even when the constitutional factors are not put into consideration, the majority of the experimental study on the efficiency of religious prison settings carry procedural errors and, to the degree that they realize any constructive impact of running prisons on religious grounds, cannot be approached easily. The few types of research which use systematic rationality might not prove that religious-based incarceration facilities present a decline in recidivism, or give unsupported evidence in their favor.

The main solemn issue with empirical research on the efficacy of religious programs is the challenge on personal interests. It is evident that prisoners voluntarily select faith-based prisons. Similarly, the factors which push a prisoner to go for religious programs might as well make him less likely to take part in criminal acts in the future.

The most reliable research carried out so far, compares non-participants with partakers who came forward for the services but got forbidden. A few analysis in this classification did not find any impact. However, others do present an unremarkable impact of religious programs on prisoners and are liable to further studies: for example, members might have profited by being introduced to treatment options which are not available to non-members. Subsequently, given present findings, there lacks substantial evidence to ascertain the work of religious detainment facilities. In any case, there is similarly no solid motivation to trust their effectiveness.


Religious programs, as presently instituted, are most likely working illegally in the current Establishment Clause rule. In any case, they would turn out to have full protection under an arrangement of jail tickets which would enable detainees to pick their very own prisons, regardless of whether they are secular or religious. The main point is, irrespective of the current frail support, some rendition of religious prison programs might work, and there is a path for that variant to rise with the Constitution steadily.

The prerequisite for increasingly thorough exploration is central to give outcome data, particularly as the number of people in prisons keeps on rising. Sadly, these projects go through assessments with one result measure: recidivism. Even though decreasing future criminal action is for sure a critical objective, different markers require contemplations in deciding the failure or success of a program. The accentuation on recidivism partially works on the idea of the available empirical data: since statistics on arrests are methodically documented and effortlessly accessible by analysts. Nevertheless, some markers-as a matter of fact, are increasingly hard to gather- can incorporate post-release employment, supervised release, and continuous involvement in projects such as vocational training and substance abuse.

While faith-based programs are by far the most economical strategy through their employment of society helpers as pioneers, the programs have to depend on prisoners to willingly choose to join them while other facilities effectively offer work or education opportunities. Offices cannot push detainees to go to the faith-based events, meetings, or programs against their will, because of the Establishment Clause. Practically, states are winning a bet with no considerable insight into how its execution results will turn out every week. Nonetheless, past researches demonstrate that applying for faith-based programs in prisons, creates a lasting and positive impact on those who participate in it. Hence it is not ok to depend on the underlying uncertainty of the efficacy of such programs.


Armour, M. P., Windsor, L. C., Aguilar, J., & Taub, C. (2008). A Pilot Study of A Faith-Based Restorative Justice Interven...

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Research Paper on the Effectiveness of Faith-Based Prison Programs on Recidivism Rates in the United States. (2022, Dec 14). Retrieved from

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