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Intersections of Race, Religion, and Inmate Culture: The Historical Development of Islam in American Corrections

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 35 Issue: 3/4 Dated: 2002 Pages: 87-107
Felecia Dix-Richardson; Billy R. Close
Thomas P. O'Connor, Nathaniel J. Pallone
Date Published
21 pages
This study briefly examined the historical development of Islam within the American correctional system and its efforts at offender rehabilitation by using the social context of race, religion, and inmate culture.
The existence and evolution of the prison Muslim movement reveals a unique story of prison, inmate culture, and religious reform. An understanding of this movement serves as a descriptor of religious ideology and leads to a more complete comprehension and appreciation of the impact it has had on American Corrections. This study began by chronologically tracing the stages of Islamic growth in American prisons and the changes that the movement underwent. The study then considered the impact of race, religion, and inmate culture upon the prison Muslim movement’s evolution. The study concluded by examining the significance of this movement as it related to reform possibilities of those who accepted Islam while incarcerated. The ability of the Islamic movement to sustain itself is attributed to broad social forces such as court intervention, the reality and impact of race in America, the role of religion in the African-American experience, and the unique characteristics of the inmate culture. As the forces continue, the movement will continue to grow and develop within prisons. References