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Among Prison Populations, Which Religions Predominate?


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It doesn't look like it. Actually the percentages seem to mirror society in general. Most prevalent are Catholics and Baptists. That's to be expected, except that much of christian teachings are related to "doing right by the other guy" - aka "morality". So why is there such a disconnect between doing right and those who self-identify as belonging to a religion, particularly Catholics and Protestants? Over 70 percent in this study from 1999 statistics, published in 2001, are Protestants and Catholics! How can this be so, if religion teaches morality and is supposed to be effective at impacting human behavior, positively?

 

I did this research after thinking about the prejudicial comments against Mormons. What group is the most moral, on a percentage basis? That's a little difficult to determine without knowing what the percentages of Americans self-identified in the below categories were during the same time period who were NOT incarcerated. I understand that there is a discrepancy between the terms, "moral" and "law abiding". I also recognize the problem with assessing the religion AFTER incarceration. However recidivism rates, as they relate to the psychopathy of the career criminal, point to religion not having a lasting impact on a person's behavior, from a statistical viewpoint.

 

So what do you all think? If there is a rightness and if christians in particular, catholics and protestants, are in any way following a path that is beneficial to mankind -- why are the percentages in prison roughly equal to the numbers in general society? Shouldn't they be much less? Shouldn't the numbers be reversed with non-christians being most of those incarcerated for their bad societal behavior?

 

 

Response Number %

---------------------------- --------

Catholic 29267 39.164%

Protestant 26162 35.008%

Muslim 5435 7.273%

American Indian 2408 3.222%

Nation 1734 2.320%

Rasta 1485 1.987%

Jewish 1325 1.773%

Church of Christ 1303 1.744%

Pentecostal 1093 1.463%

Moorish 1066 1.426%

Buddhist 882 1.180%

Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%

Adventist 621 0.831%

Orthodox 375 0.502%

Mormon 298 0.399%

Scientology 190 0.254%

Atheist 156 0.209%

Hindu 119 0.159%

Santeria 117 0.157%

Sikh 14 0.019%

Bahai 9 0.012%

Krishna 7 0.009%

---------------------------- --------

Total Known Responses 74731 100.001% (rounding to 3 digits does this)

 

Unknown/No Answer 18381

----------------------------

Total Convicted 93112 80.259% (74731) prisoners' religion is known.

 

Held in Custody 3856 (not surveyed due to temporary custody)

----------------------------

Total In Prisons 96968

 

http://www.adherents....html#dichotomy

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Does anyone want to attempt to explain the disconnect between Religion and the moral failures of its faithful?

 

Considering the statistical links between religion and incarcerations, does it make sense to insist that politicians adhere to ANY religion?

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I think the majority of inmates find religion after they've gone to prison.

 

That's not supported by any surveys of the general population, as far as I know. I think that roughly 80 percent of Americans self-identify with some brand of religion.

 

 

Take the people on PCOM - about the same percentage, do you think? About 80 percent? There's no evidence that they are any less likely to be arrested and jailed than those who are not religious? Why not, if there's a moral standard that is supposedly connected to religion?

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At the local jail level the inmate population mimics the local community (in religion, in race/ethnic, etc), But the federal prison system does not place inmates near their "home" area, so it is a more accurate statistic as to religious preferences. Also, many inmates will use "religion" as an excuse to get extra privileges, get out of their cell more often, get money sent in to them, etc.

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2 words - Jailhouse Religion

 

 

So how do you explain that the self-identifying percentages roughly equal the outside percentages? If the millions of Americans presently incarcerated were those who were not religious before the arrest, why would they self-identify as catholic, for example? It's not like there are catholic protective gangs in prison......

 

Do you agree that the percentage outside of prison is about four out of five who self-identify with some brand of religion? If the percentage inside of prison is roughly four out of five, how can you say, "jailhouse religion" if the percentages mirror each other?

 

Even if your answer is -- these aren't REAL religious people - they are just claiming a brand --- Isn't that exactly what politicians do??? So what's the point of requiring that a politician SAY that he is aligned with a particular religion? It's a bit like the storied, "jailhouse religion" in that there's a payoff for them making those claims.

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I have several relatives that do Prison Ministry.

 

Most people turn to religion once they are incarcerated.

 

AND, I do not know the latest numbers but as recently as 5 years ago the most embraced religion was muslim. It seems the muslims convert and recruit a lot of people behind bars.

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I have several relatives that do Prison Ministry.

 

Most people turn to religion once they are incarcerated.

 

AND, I do not know the latest numbers but as recently as 5 years ago the most embraced religion was muslim. It seems the muslims convert and recruit a lot of people behind bars.

 

I agree with you in part about muslims. There are not "catholic gangs", but there are muslim gangs. I think that the numbers of people going into prison were not muslims going in, because the percentages of muslims are higher in prison than in the normal population. There's no evidence that muslims are law-breakers in general society any more than anybody else.

 

As for people claiming religion - I think that these are people who would probably claim a looser association with religion outside prison than they do inside. But that's part of my point, too. These are people who are not REAL believers, but CLAIM real belief once the circumstances work in their favor.

 

I contend that politicians do exactly the same thing! A politician not REALLY a fervent believer, is suddenly stumping for jesus when there's a political payoff. So WHY IN THE WORLD would we consider a POLITICIAN'S religion any less skeptically than "prisoner's religion"?

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I agree with you in part about muslims. There are not "catholic gangs", but there are muslim gangs. I think that the numbers of people going into prison were not muslims going in, because the percentages of muslims are higher in prison than in the normal population. There's no evidence that muslims are law-breakers in general society any more than anybody else.

 

As for people claiming religion - I think that these are people who would probably claim a looser association with religion outside prison than they do inside. But that's part of my point, too. These are people who are not REAL believers, but CLAIM real belief once the circumstances work in their favor.

 

I contend that politicians do exactly the same thing! A politician not REALLY a fervent believer, is suddenly stumping for jesus when there's a political payoff. So WHY IN THE WORLD would we consider a POLITICIAN'S religion any less skeptically than "prisoner's religion"?

 

 

Well said.

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So what do you all think? If there is a rightness and if christians in particular, catholics and protestants, are in any way following a path that is beneficial to mankind -- why are the percentages in prison roughly equal to the numbers in general society? Shouldn't they be much less? Shouldn't the numbers be reversed with non-christians being most of those incarcerated for their bad societal behavior?

 

"Jailhouse religion" aside, you are correct. The numbers should be inverse to what they are. My opinion is that while tens of millions of people call themselves Christian (not differentiating between denoms here), many/most of them don't allow their so-called belief system make any difference in their lives. That is to say, instead of allowing Christianity being the guiding force in their lives, they simply tack Christianity on to the rest of their lives and think they've done a good thing. Many churches could take the name off the building and call themselves a social club and there would be no difference.

 

I am an evangelical Christian, and this is one of my soapboxes. I've said it before (many times) and I'll say it again - if the CHURCH would live what they say they believe instead of looking just like the WORLD in every regard, the world would be unrecognizable. In EVERY CATEGORY in study after study, there is no difference between Christians and the rest of the world. The a-word, affairs, divorce, pornography, alcoholism, drugs, you name it. People need to be honest. If you aren't going to live what you say you believe, then just say so. But don't put up this facade that you're Joe Christian and then treat those around you like dirt, and cheat on your wife and your income taxes, and indulge in pornography, etc. If every person who says they are Christian lived what they say they believe, the world would be a totally different place.

 

:climbingdownoffsoapbox:

 

 

Edited to correct spelling, dang it.

Edited by mei lan
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I agree with you in part about muslims. There are not "catholic gangs", but there are muslim gangs. I think that the numbers of people going into prison were not muslims going in, because the percentages of muslims are higher in prison than in the normal population. There's no evidence that muslims are law-breakers in general society any more than anybody else.

 

As for people claiming religion - I think that these are people who would probably claim a looser association with religion outside prison than they do inside. But that's part of my point, too. These are people who are not REAL believers, but CLAIM real belief once the circumstances work in their favor.

 

I contend that politicians do exactly the same thing! A politician not REALLY a fervent believer, is suddenly stumping for jesus when there's a political payoff. So WHY IN THE WORLD would we consider a POLITICIAN'S religion any less skeptically than "prisoner's religion"?

 

 

the correlation is there are more blacks in the prisons (by percentage) than any other race, they take up the muslim religion for many reasons including the social aspect of it. There are alot blacks attending the services, but when it comes to the more difficult aspects of it, like ramadan fasting (approx august), the numbers of prisoners attending tend to go down . Also, i could discuss their draw toward muslim/islam being related to malcolm x, the black panther party, etc.

 

--- as far as the black populations in the georgia prison system, just tryto get an answer as to why the department of corrections only counts 2 groups of prisoners, "black" and "non-black" when the officers do head counts of inmate population? (to keep the percentage closer to 50%)

 

Not trying to make this racial, just answering a question via personal knowledge....

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I don't believe in god, and i've never been to prison. I don't lie, cheat, steal, or kill. I treat others how I would like to be treated. I help people when I can, I hold the door, say please & thank you, I don't curse around children...people who commit crimes, do so for many different reasons, lack of religion is not one of them.

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I don't believe in god, and i've never been to prison. I don't lie, cheat, steal, or kill. I treat others how I would like to be treated. I help people when I can, I hold the door, say please & thank you, I don't curse around children...people who commit crimes, do so for many different reasons, lack of religion is not one of them.

:clapping:

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I don't believe in god, and i've never been to prison. I don't lie, cheat, steal, or kill. I treat others how I would like to be treated. I help people when I can, I hold the door, say please & thank you, I don't curse around children...people who commit crimes, do so for many different reasons, lack of religion is not one of them.

 

 

Me - I think that there's no such thing as a supernatural realm, making unnecessary any discussion of the possibility of inhabitants. Like you, I'm a moral person who knows that abiding by the laws of morality (doing right by the other person) is the way that I conduct my everyday life and the only way to have a quality existence. It doesn't have anything to do with a payoff or reward or getting a chance at a second life in another form - It has to do with a quality life.

 

Admittedly that includes abiding by the laws because punishment interferes with life-quality. It's just very perplexing that anyone would opt for choices that would possibly land them in prison and dramatically reduce their life-quality!

 

I agree with you - people who commit crimes do so not because they lack religion, but for other reasons of which religion is not a deciding factor one way or the other.

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the correlation is there are more blacks in the prisons (by percentage) than any other race, they take up the muslim religion for many reasons including the social aspect of it. There are alot blacks attending the services, but when it comes to the more difficult aspects of it, like ramadan fasting (approx august), the numbers of prisoners attending tend to go down . Also, i could discuss their draw toward muslim/islam being related to malcolm x, the black panther party, etc.

 

--- as far as the black populations in the georgia prison system, just tryto get an answer as to why the department of corrections only counts 2 groups of prisoners, "black" and "non-black" when the officers do head counts of inmate population? (to keep the percentage closer to 50%)

 

Not trying to make this racial, just answering a question via personal knowledge....

 

 

Have you ever heard that a negation equals an affirmation? Probably not.

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In prison they have a lot of time on their hands. They have 24/7 time to study the Bible or whatever book they are reading. Some prisoners have jobs. MOST do not. Depends on the prison they are in...depends on the lockdown time and it also depends on what level the inmate is at. In Ga. there are 3 levels. Close Security, Medium Security, and Minimum Security. Most of the prisoners in Medium have jobs outside the prison but are still closely guarded.

 

My ex-BIL was a prisoner who found Jesus in jail. He bacame a jailhouse preacher. There was LOTS of perks for him finding Jesus and living the life in prison. Not only did he gain the trust of the Pastor who came to the jail and became his spiritual advisor. My ex-BIL was an outstanding preacher! He had awesome messages. AS long as he was in prison it was easy for him to walk the walk. He still had some temptations...but not like being outside in a free world. He was able to leave the prison a certain amout of time during the month to go and preach at a church outside the prison walls.

He got out of prison and walked the straight and narrow....He was a minister in the church with the pastor that came to the prison. He even gained privilages to go back into the prison and teach other prisoners.

But all it took was him thinking he could drink a glass of wine with dinner. The snowball effect happened. He ended up back in prison. He was just released because of cirrhosis of the liver and needing medical care.

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Marxism?

 

or

 

Dialectical Materialism?

 

 

You don't have a clue, do you? It's psychological, not political, strictly. A rationalization, it's when you say things like "I don't mean to be rude, but..." when that's exacly what you mean to be. "I don't want to butt into your business, it's just that ....." yeah, you're about to butt into somebody's business.

 

 

So when you say, "Not trying to make this racial....." Yes -- that is exactly what you're trying to do and the fact that you affirmed it by beginning with a negation is proof-positive of your intentions. The question that remains is -- "What is your interest in turning the discussion of RELIGION, POLITICS, and PRISON into one about race?"

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You don't have a clue, do you? It's psychological, not political, strictly. A rationalization, it's when you say things like "I don't mean to be rude, but..." when that's exacly what you mean to be. "I don't want to butt into your business, it's just that ....." yeah, you're about to butt into somebody's business.

 

 

So when you say, "Not trying to make this racial....." Yes -- that is exactly what you're trying to do and the fact that you affirmed it by beginning with a negation is proof-positive of your intentions. The question that remains is -- "What is your interest in turning the discussion of RELIGION, POLITICS, and PRISON into one about race?"

 

 

I am not trying to make this about one race or another, just dealing with the facts / pointing out the statistics ---

 

georgia has the highest number blacks in prison than any other state by percentage ---- 29% of the general population is black / 64% of the prison population is. Ohio is second with 12% and 52% link: www.gibbsmagazine.com/blacks_in_prisons.htm

 

"Islam is the fastest growing religion in prison populations"

Link: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43414376/ns/politics/t/hearings-focus-islamic-radicalization-among-prison-inmates/#.Twd0YFZS2W8

 

And from the same msnbc story : "a quote from the testimony that supported King's view of the threat came from Michael Downing, commanding officer of Counter terrorism and Special operation at the Los Angeles Police Department. He warned of what he called "Prislam" — a "hijacked cut-and-paste version of Islam" that is spread by inmates who have little understanding of standard Islam."

 

"Adopting the Islamic faith while in prison is not a new phenomenon. Islam took hold in U.S. prisons in the 1940s, when members of the Nation of Islam were held for refusing to fight in World War II. Malcolm X was one of their most famous prison recruits."

 

 

----- Also, If you want to quote philosophy, then please quote it correctly: "The negation of negation logically results in something positive, in thought as well as in reality. Negation and affirmation are polar concepts. Negation of the affirmation results in negation; negation of the negation equals affirmation. If I negate yes, I get no, the first negation. If I negate no, I get yes, the second negation. The result is something positive." ---- August Thalheimer

 

 

So, if you can come up up with a different conclusion given the facts, or if you have actually been inside (employed there or inmate) to see what is really going on, fell free to correct me on the whole muslim /black thing.

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I am not trying to make this about one race or another, just dealing with the facts / pointing out the statistics ---

 

georgia has the highest number blacks in prison than any other state by percentage ---- 29% of the general population is black / 64% of the prison population is. Ohio is second with 12% and 52% link: www.gibbsmagazine.com/blacks_in_prisons.htm

 

"Islam is the fastest growing religion in prison populations"

Link: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43414376/ns/politics/t/hearings-focus-islamic-radicalization-among-prison-inmates/#.Twd0YFZS2W8

 

And from the same msnbc story : "a quote from the testimony that supported King's view of the threat came from Michael Downing, commanding officer of Counter terrorism and Special operation at the Los Angeles Police Department. He warned of what he called "Prislam" — a "hijacked cut-and-paste version of Islam" that is spread by inmates who have little understanding of standard Islam."

 

"Adopting the Islamic faith while in prison is not a new phenomenon. Islam took hold in U.S. prisons in the 1940s, when members of the Nation of Islam were held for refusing to fight in World War II. Malcolm X was one of their most famous prison recruits."

 

 

----- Also, If you want to quote philosophy, then please quote it correctly: "The negation of negation logically results in something positive, in thought as well as in reality. Negation and affirmation are polar concepts. Negation of the affirmation results in negation; negation of the negation equals affirmation. If I negate yes, I get no, the first negation. If I negate no, I get yes, the second negation. The result is something positive." ---- August Thalheimer

 

 

So, if you can come up up with a different conclusion given the facts, or if you have actually been inside (employed there or inmate) to see what is really going on, fell free to correct me on the whole muslim /black thing.

I won't correct you on any "muslim/black thing" because I'm not going to indulge your prejudices. I never said anything about using a negation to preface equalling an affirmation being in any way philosophical! Where'd that come from???

 

Regarding the way that you began this post -- "There you go again!" Come to terms with your prejudices. Nobody said the first thing about race until you brought it up.

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eym_sirius, from the post #1, your web link and numbers are from 1997 and 2000? A couple of things happened since then. 9/11, as well as the explosion of illegal immigration. The prison population and religions do not currently "mirror society in general". Both Muslim and Catholic inmate numbers have grown considerably.

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I don't believe in god, and i've never been to prison. I don't lie, cheat, steal, or kill. I treat others how I would like to be treated. I help people when I can, I hold the door, say please & thank you, I don't curse around children...people who commit crimes, do so for many different reasons, lack of religion is not one of them.

 

 

 

:wub:

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I don't believe in god, and i've never been to prison. I don't lie, cheat, steal, or kill. I treat others how I would like to be treated. I help people when I can, I hold the door, say please & thank you, I don't curse around children...people who commit crimes, do so for many different reasons, lack of religion is not one of them.

 

While I am not an expert on human behavior I think you have hit the nail on the head.

 

It sounds to me like you care for your neighbor.

 

I'll bet a large percentage of criminals deep down inside cared for no one but themselves immediately before they got into the trouble that got them into prison.

 

I think the study's results were skewed. The results might have indicated which background each one surveyed came from. Being from a background is not an indicator of what kind of life a person had chosen to follow.

 

I might tick some people off. I feel people make their own choices and are responsible for their own future.

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I agree that the prison populations today do not coorelate to the religious self-identifying categories of the late 1990s. The premise is the same, that people on the outside of prison, who identify with a religion at, roughly 7 or 8 out of 10 will behave in society so poorly that they will be incarcerated for a length of time in prison. Regardless of the individual denominational affiliations, the inmates had been introduced to religious teachings, including morality and continued to identify with that religion.

 

Similarly, a political candidate claims a political affiliation. There was probably at least a loose connection with religion, but the voter declares "all-in" for a candidate who only CLAIMS to have that affiliation. This would be about the same as a governor commuting the sentence of a serial killer because he claimed to have found religion in prison. That would be absurd, wouldn't it? How much less absurd is it for a conservative voter to declare his undying support just because the candidate says, "god"? And how much further absurd is it that the voter will overlook racism, sexism, homophobia, graft, and other corruptions of the spirit because the politician CLAIMED an affiliation with a particular brand of religion?

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I agree that the prison populations today do not coorelate to the religious self-identifying categories of the late 1990s. The premise is the same, that people on the outside of prison, who identify with a religion at, roughly 7 or 8 out of 10 will behave in society so poorly that they will be incarcerated for a length of time in prison. Regardless of the individual denominational affiliations, the inmates had been introduced to religious teachings, including morality and continued to identify with that religion.

 

Similarly, a political candidate claims a political affiliation. There was probably at least a loose connection with religion, but the voter declares "all-in" for a candidate who only CLAIMS to have that affiliation. This would be about the same as a governor commuting the sentence of a serial killer because he claimed to have found religion in prison. That would be absurd, wouldn't it? How much less absurd is it for a conservative voter to declare his undying support just because the candidate says, "god"? And how much further absurd is it that the voter will overlook racism, sexism, homophobia, graft, and other corruptions of the spirit because the politician CLAIMED an affiliation with a particular brand of religion?

 

Are we done yet?

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While I am not an expert on human behavior I think you have hit the nail on the head.

 

It sounds to me like you care for your neighbor.

 

I'll bet a large percentage of criminals deep down inside cared for no one but themselves immediately before they got into the trouble that got them into prison.

 

I think the study's results were skewed. The results might have indicated which background each one surveyed came from. Being from a background is not an indicator of what kind of life a person had chosen to follow.

 

I might tick some people off. I feel people make their own choices and are responsible for their own future.

 

I think that you're onto something! A background isn't a predictor of how someone will behave or what an individual believes. That's why it doesn't make any sense to consider religion at parole hearings and it doesn't make any sense to consider the religion of a politician.

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Two fundamental principals all human beings should live by:

 

1) You treat others as you wish to be treated.

 

2) The energy you emit will be the energy you receive.

 

End of story.

I'm pretty sure that most everyone agrees with that assessment. That's the way that things SHOULD be - not the way that they ARE, and there are exceptions that include psychological disorders/mental illness, which is why it's not the end of the story.

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It doesn't look like it. Actually the percentages seem to mirror society in general. Most prevalent are Catholics and Baptists. That's to be expected, except that much of christian teachings are related to "doing right by the other guy" - aka "morality". So why is there such a disconnect between doing right and those who self-identify as belonging to a religion, particularly Catholics and Protestants? Over 70 percent in this study from 1999 statistics, published in 2001, are Protestants and Catholics! How can this be so, if religion teaches morality and is supposed to be effective at impacting human behavior, positively?

 

I did this research after thinking about the prejudicial comments against Mormons. What group is the most moral, on a percentage basis? That's a little difficult to determine without knowing what the percentages of Americans self-identified in the below categories were during the same time period who were NOT incarcerated. I understand that there is a discrepancy between the terms, "moral" and "law abiding". I also recognize the problem with assessing the religion AFTER incarceration. However recidivism rates, as they relate to the psychopathy of the career criminal, point to religion not having a lasting impact on a person's behavior, from a statistical viewpoint.

 

So what do you all think? If there is a rightness and if christians in particular, catholics and protestants, are in any way following a path that is beneficial to mankind -- why are the percentages in prison roughly equal to the numbers in general society? Shouldn't they be much less? Shouldn't the numbers be reversed with non-christians being most of those incarcerated for their bad societal behavior?

 

 

Response Number %

---------------------------- --------

Catholic 29267 39.164%

Protestant 26162 35.008%

Muslim 5435 7.273%

American Indian 2408 3.222%

Nation 1734 2.320%

Rasta 1485 1.987%

Jewish 1325 1.773%

Church of Christ 1303 1.744%

Pentecostal 1093 1.463%

Moorish 1066 1.426%

Buddhist 882 1.180%

Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%

Adventist 621 0.831%

Orthodox 375 0.502%

Mormon 298 0.399%

Scientology 190 0.254%

Atheist 156 0.209%

Hindu 119 0.159%

Santeria 117 0.157%

Sikh 14 0.019%

Bahai 9 0.012%

Krishna 7 0.009%

---------------------------- --------

Total Known Responses 74731 100.001% (rounding to 3 digits does this)

 

Unknown/No Answer 18381

----------------------------

Total Convicted 93112 80.259% (74731) prisoners' religion is known.

 

Held in Custody 3856 (not surveyed due to temporary custody)

----------------------------

Total In Prisons 96968

 

http://www.adherents....html#dichotomy

My question is, were they religious when they went into prison or did they 'find God' only after they got there like so many seem to do?

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I'm pretty sure that most everyone agrees with that assessment. That's the way that things SHOULD be - not the way that they ARE, and there are exceptions that include psychological disorders/mental illness, which is why it's not the end of the story.

 

Well duh.

 

Adding disclaimers to every comment gets a bit redundant, but at least it opens up the opportunity for some to add their .02.

 

:crazy:

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My question is, were they religious when they went into prison or did they 'find God' only after they got there like so many seem to do?

 

People outside prison identify with a BRAND of religion in roughly the same percentages that they do IN prison. The moral lessons weren't learned very well before incarceration, apparenltly Recidivism rates show that inside the joint the lessons aren't much more successful.

 

Does anyone actually believe the "finding god in prison" thing? I've always thought that anybody who made a show of religion was a phony.

 

Well duh.

 

Adding disclaimers to every comment gets a bit redundant, but at least it opens up the opportunity for some to add their .02.

 

 

 

It's called "conversation". If you don't want to participate in this discussion - get to steppin! If you have a comment that is germaine to the conversation, then Welcome! Hopefully it will be a bit more pithy than your previous efforts.

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