Magazine article Corrections Forum

Faith-Based Inmate Rehab Research "Sparse, Inconclusive"

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Faith-Based Inmate Rehab Research "Sparse, Inconclusive"

Article excerpt

Denver Post

Like countless others before him, Jonathan Willis rediscovered God in the solitude of a Colorado jail cell, 10 months after he was charged with murder. "It's natural to reach out to God in a period of duress," says Michael Spotts, a volunteer chaplain at the Adams County Jail. "The thing that tinges the jailhouse conversion with cynicism is that people like Jonathan killed someone. It's inexcusable horrible. But the genuineness of conversion can be found in confession of what was done wrong, and the seeking of repentance." Against the advice of his attorney, Willis, 25, pleaded guilty - knowing that he was sentencing himself to life without possibility of parole.

Bolstered by President Bush's signing of the Second Chance Act, which promises more money for faith-based programs to help rehabilitate prisoners, corrections officials and religious volunteers are testing the still largely unproved theory that faith can not only salvage criminals, but - in the long run - make the rest of us safer, too. …

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