Thursday, November 24, 2005

The danger of faith-based prisons

When I first saw the term "faith-based prison," I burst out laughing. What the hell, I wondered, is a faith-based prison? To get my question answered, I turned to Florida governor and Constitution-basher Jeb Bush, who has opened Wakulla Correctional Institution in Crawfordville (not making this up), Florida. Wakulla's 1,600 inmates are expected to have low recitivism rates because they have regular prayer sessions, religious studies, choir practice and life skills training.

Naturally, people who care about church/state separation are upset by the existence of Wakulla, which purports to serve inmates of any religion or no religion, but of course, it's all about Jesus all the time.

There is another danger to operating such a prison, however, and that danger has to do with addiction. An extremely high percentage of prison populations suffer from alcohol and drug addiction; indeed, many inmate are behind bars because of their drug habits. People who suffer from serious addictions often temporarily put aside the addiction that has gotten them into trouble and substitute it with another, "acceptable" addiction. One of the most popular of these is compulsive religiosity.

When I was in the alcohol and drug treatment profession, I saw a great number of people "cured" by "finding God," only they became very extreme and dysfunctional about their new-found religion, and it caused them to do many of the things they did when they were drinking or drugging. Their thinking was warped, they hurt those around them, and they neglected their social and psychological growth. And, as I have already mentioned, the "cure" was temporary.

Teaching life skills is a good idea, and of course, inmates should be permitted to visit with the clergypeople of their choice. But introducing a number of addicts in a closed setting to regular prayer meetings and Bible study is a sure-fire formula for creating an addiction to religion.

8 Comments:

My son used to work as a jailer and a dispatcher for a small county jail. A few years ago, our small town was traumatized by the second murder in its history. Three boys murdered another. It was all the town could talk about for the longest time. Two of the boys got 20 years, the ring leader got life. My son said as soon as the boys were booked into jail, they all three found religion, asked for a pastor, and proclaimed a new way of life. They are all in prison now, the one who has the life sentenced, was recently moved to a different prison because he got the state preachers behind me due to his new found love of god and his calling to be a preacher. So, he is in a better, if there is such a thing, prison. He is so absorbed into this religious calling thing, that he sends out newsletters and tries to get to get out to go to the schools to preach! I wonder if he were released tomorrow, would he still be so wrapped up in this religious zeal of his. This is a kid who was so addicted to meth that he robbed to get it and eventually beat a kid to death with a bat. He used to write to me, I wanted to know his story so that I might write about it, but then his letters were never about his crime, his remoarse, or any of that, but what he was doing to expand the news of god. He also writes poetry and sermons. He is just weird. The last time I heard anything abouth him, someone had smuggled drugs in and he managed to get some and was using drugs in prison. He failed a urine test and lost some of his privilideges.

By Blogger zelda1, at 7:43 AM  

When I lived in New Orelans, we got this cable channel that was about all different kinds of religions. In addition to the evangelical stuff, there was the really strange stuff. The one that fascinated me most was a religion based on how a certain letter of the alphabet was pronounced hundreds of years ago. It was that tangential.

One day, while I was working at a hospital CDU, I interviewed a patient who was a member of that church. He was starting to realize that the church was a cult and that it was nuts. He also told me there wasn't a single church member who wasn't like him--addicted to crack cocaine.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:21 AM  

I'm a lawyer and I had an interesting divorce case some time ago. Pretty young college-educated woman wanted a divorce from her cheating, lying, abusive self-styled preacher of a husband. Fortunately, he agreed to cooperate in the divorce. She wanted to go back to her family in another state and start over. In the course of the proceedings he murdered someone, complicating our proceedings slightly. Then the lady called and told me she wanted to call off the divorce. She made vows before God, blah, blah, blah. I had no choice but to drop the case, even though it was obvious to me that his use of God to manipulate her into staying married to him was all about his desire to preserve his eligibility for conjugal visits, along with the other advantages that come with having a submissive woman taking care of things for him on the outside now that he'd be in prison for a long time. I've seen no evidence that obsessive religion improves the honesty or kindness of anyone (and I have a family full of Southern Baptists), quite to the contrary in fact. That it will "cure" the criminal population is even less credible.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:36 PM  

I always want to know how a faith treatment compares to Dr. Tim Leary's version in longitudinal studies.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:15 PM  

nike air max, red bottom shoes, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton handbags, cheap ugg boots, christian louboutin, gucci handbags, longchamp handbags, ray ban outlet, michael kors outlet, nike outlet, christian louboutin outlet, ugg boots clearance, prada handbags, tiffany jewelry, oakley vault, ray ban sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet online, prada outlet, michael kors handbags, polo ralph lauren, louis vuitton outlet, ugg australia, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet store, louis vuitton outlet, jordan shoes, replica watches, michael kors outlet online, nike free, burberry outlet online, tiffany and co, christian louboutin shoes, ray ban sunglasses, ugg outlet, michael kors outlet online sale, michael kors outlet online, chanel handbags, burberry outlet online, kate spade outlet online, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet, replica watches, tory burch outlet online

By Blogger oakleyses, at 12:38 AM  

north face pas cher, nike air max, nike free, vans pas cher, scarpe hogan, nike free pas cher, air max pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, air jordan, mulberry uk, converse pas cher, coach purses, michael kors uk, lacoste pas cher, longchamp pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, new balance pas cher, louboutin, hermes pas cher, michael kors outlet online, nike air max, ray ban pas cher, true religion outlet, coach outlet store online, ray ban uk, coach outlet, true religion jeans, timberland pas cher, oakley pas cher, nike air force, nike roshe, tn pas cher, ralph lauren uk, north face, michael kors canada, longchamp, true religion, true religion outlet, hollister, hollister uk, abercrombie and fitch, michael kors, nike roshe run, air max, burberry pas cher, coach outlet, lululemon outlet online, kate spade outlet, guess pas cher

By Blogger oakleyses, at 12:39 AM  

soccer shoes, p90x workout, beats headphones, bottega veneta, longchamp, iphone 6s cases, lululemon outlet, babyliss, vans outlet, baseball bats, instyler ionic styler, valentino shoes, new balance outlet, jimmy choo shoes, hollister clothing store, ipad cases, soccer jerseys, insanity workout, iphone 6s plus cases, chi flat iron, mac cosmetics, mont blanc pens, nike air huarache, nike roshe, celine handbags, iphone 6 cases, ghd, ferragamo shoes, wedding dresses, louboutin, iphone 6 plus cases, s6 cases, nike air max, iphone 5s cases, oakley, nfl jerseys, iphone cases, hollister, giuseppe zanotti, timberland boots, abercrombie and fitch, asics shoes, nike trainers, ralph lauren, reebok shoes, herve leger, north face jackets, mcm handbags, north face jackets, birkin bag

By Blogger oakleyses, at 12:41 AM  

uggs canada, links of london uk, hollister canada, moncler, swarovski jewelry, moncler, ray ban, pandora jewelry, moncler, coach outlet, doke gabbana outlet, moncler, moncler, barbour, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton pas cher, michael kors handbags, louis vuitton canada, sac louis vuitton, montre femme, michael kors outlet online, pandora charms, toms outlet, ugg, canada goose pas cher, michael kors outlet, pandora jewelry, moncler outlet, juicy couture outlet, vans, ugg soldes, pandora uk, ugg, karen millen, sac lancel, converse, canada goose outlet, canada goose, canada goose, louis vuitton, marc jacobs handbags, canada goose, moncler outlet, supra shoes, converse shoes, air max, canada goose outlet, ugg boots, gucci, swarovski uk, barbour jackets

By Blogger oakleyses, at 12:43 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home