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Development of a Guide to Resources on Faith-Based Organizations in Criminal Justice Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2004
182 pages
In developing a guide to faith-based organizations (FBO's) that have supplied resources to the criminal justice system, this project hoped to assist in the development of a research agenda that will determine whether and under what circumstances FBO's can promote public safety by reducing crime and delinquency.
A literature review that examined theory and research on the impact of religion on crime and delinquent behavior found that religion is generally inversely related to delinquency and crime; however, the specific concepts and elements of faith and religion that cultivate positive behaviors have not been clearly identified. A broad-based environmental scan that identified promising faith-based programs that support criminal justice initiatives encompassed national networks, community organizations, and local church congregations. The scan identified a wide range of programs and services being provided by FBO's in order to improve outcomes in the areas of crime prevention, intervention, and aftercare. A research brief examines the evolution of religion's focus on criminal justice concerns, with attention to the theoretical foundation of its involvement, the historical context, prior research, contemporary challenges, and recommendations for future research. The brief concludes that the most methodologically rigorous studies show that religion reduces both minor and serious forms of juvenile delinquency and adult criminality. Future research is recommended. Finally, case studies portray innovative faith-based programs, including the Aleph Institute, Amachi Program, Kairos Horizon Communities in Prison, and the Masjid Al-Islam Da'wah Program. The case studies show that engaging FBO's in collaborative, problem-solving partnerships has the potential to improve outcomes for offenders in general, inmates, ex-inmates, and their families. 2 tables, 1 figure, and 158 references

Date Published: September 1, 2004