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NCJ Number: 151513 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Does Involvement in Religion Help Prisoners Adjust to Prison?
Author(s): T R Clear; B D Stout; H R Dammer; L Kelly; P L Hardyman; C Shapiro
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Oakland, CA 94612
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

National Council on Crime and Delinquency
1970 Broadway, Suite 500
Oakland, CA 94612
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Because little research has been conducted to evaluate the benefits of religion in prisons, this study was conducted to determine if religion facilitated inmate adjustment to prison life.
Abstract: Researchers worked with a group of inmates from a midwestern maximum-security prison to develop the Prisoner Values Survey, a multidimensional assessment of religious beliefs and behavior. The Prisoner Values Survey was then used in 20 prisons in 12 States, with questionnaires administered to 769 male inmates. Forty-three percent were white, 42 percent were black, and 9 percent were Hispanic. Inmate age ranged from 17 to 75. Over 50 percent were Protestant, about 65 percent were Christian, 8 percent were Muslim, and 15 percent had no religious preference. The study also included focus group interviews with religious and nonreligious inmates and interviews with chaplains, prison administrators, and correctional officers and staff. Adjustment to prison was viewed in two ways, coping and avoiding trouble. Data were obtained on measures of religiousness, measures of adjustment, and covariate measures. Findings revealed that religiosity was related to prison infractions and adjustment, although infractions and adjustment were unrelated. Consistent with prior studies of prison adjustment, inmate age, time served, and participation in certain prison programs were linked to both infractions and adjustment. Adjustment related to self- esteem, depression, and mastery, underscoring the psychological nature of adjustment. Infractions related to drug use, security level, prior record, and current offense. Prior record related negatively to the degree of religiosity. Religion was important in reducing the number of infractions, but its role in facilitating adjustment was less clear when considering its association with depression. Prisoners indicated that religion eased the pain of incarceration in terms of dealing with guilt, finding a new way of life, and handling with loss of freedom. In addition, religious programs tended to ameliorate the prison's harsh environment with respect to safety, material comforts, and heterosexual contacts. 4 references and 3 tables
Main Term(s): Corrections
Index Term(s): Adjustment to prison; Inmate attitudes; Inmate characteristics; Inmate religious affiliation; Religion; Religious programs
Note: NCCD Focus (November 1992)
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