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NCJ Number: 210016 Find in a Library
Title: Charitable Choice and Prison Ministries: Constitutional and Institutional Challenges to Rehabilitating the American Penal System
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review  Volume:16  Issue:2  Dated:June 2005  Pages:164-189
Author(s): Charles McDaniel; Derek H. Davis; Sabrina A. Neff
Date Published: June 2005
Page Count: 26
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the influence of faith-based prison ministries in the American criminal justice system in the context of the Bush administration's efforts to provide Federal funding for the social-service activities of religious organizations.
Abstract: Domestic and international studies have shown lowered recidivism rates for inmates who have participated in religious programs, which have prompted the integration of religious projects into American prisons. This article focuses on one such program, the Prison Fellowship Ministries' InnerChange program as implemented in Texas and Iowa prisons. The objectives of this program are to create and maintain a prison environment that fosters respect for God's law, the rights of others, and encouragement of the spiritual and moral regeneration of offenders. Promotion of government support for such programs was labeled Charitable Choice and was introduced as part of a Federal welfare reform bill by Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO). Reflecting these and other efforts to provide government funding for faith-based social-service programs, President George Bush sought to fulfill his campaign promise of supporting Charitable Choice through the establishment of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Complications have arisen in this effort due to challenges that claim prison programs sponsored by one faith (Christian) disadvantage other faiths that do not have such programs, that funding will tend to favor certain religious groups or certain types of faith-based programs, that the religious programs funded by government will compromise their volunteer character, and that government regulations tied to funding will restrict the freedom of such programs in promoting strongly held religious doctrines held by the staff. 14 notes and 50 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Federal aid; Grants or contracts; Inmate religious affiliation; Inmate treatment; Religion
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