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Religious Faith in Correctional Contexts

Kent R. Kerley
Religious Faith in Correctional Contexts
ISBN: 978-1-935049-91-3
ISBN: 978-1-62637-483-6
2013/189 pages/LC: 2013028309
A FirstForumPress Book
"Presents a remarkable digest of interviews, collating, synthesising, and presenting the voices of those interviewed. But there is much more."—Jason S. Sexton, The Howard Journal

"Anyone involved in, or interested in, prison or jail ministry programs should read Kent R. Kerley's highly-researched book."—David Young, Corrections Today

"[Kerley] enters the difficult area of prisoner studies ... but he does so very well.... For both criminal justice and religious studies at any level."—Choice

"Compelling.... Kerley makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the place of religious faith and practices in the lives and behavior of people in correctional contexts."—Jeffery T. Ulmer, Pennsylvania State University
"Fresh, informative, and exemplary in its execution.... Anyone seeking knowledge about religion and prison should read this book."—Jacquelyn Sandifer, Campbellsville University


Kent Kerley explores the issue of religion in prison, offering a rich portrait of religious practices and their impacts.

Kerley shows how offenders of all stripes use faith to adapt and survive in difficult institutional settings. He sheds light on the complex processes of religious conversion, discusses the development of tools for "staying straight" in and after prison, and reveals surprising differences between the experiences of men and women. Moving to the realm of policy, Kerley's analysis illuminates the specific mechanisms by which faith-based prison programming can have a positive impact.


Kent R. Kerley is professor of criminal justice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


  • The Faith of Captives.
  • The Relationship Between Religion and Criminal Behavior.
  • Faith-Based Prison Programs and Prison Ministry Workers.
  • The Conversion Experience.
  • Maintaining Change for Men.
  • Maintaining Change for Women.
  • The Halfway House Experience.
  • Returning to the Free World.
  • The Future of Faith.   
  • Appendix: Studying Faith in Correctional Contexts.