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Islamic and Christian Conversion in Prison

November 26, 2014

My latest article Religious Conversion in Prison: Prosocial V. Antisocial Identities appears in the International Journal of Education and Social Science, Research Institute for Progression of Knowledge. http://www.ijessnet.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/7.pdf.

In this article “Prisoner transformation through religious conversion is a varied pathway where the reasons for seeking change, for selecting religion as a means of change, the selection of a helper, the religious group affiliated with and the effect of social, cultural and political factors create subtle distinctions in how one experiences conversion or not and if so, how transformation develops and proceeds toward anti- or pro-social outcomes.  Does this tell us anything that we may later quantify and statistically base predictions upon? In responding to this question there are seven points worthy of consideration.

First, religious conversion and transformation in identity is a “much nuanced pathway”.

Second, what is found in both religions is that there are many “forks in the road” during the conversion process and transforming identities. Forks were evidenced in both the inclusivist and exclusivist religious community identity and in the incorporationist and rejectionist worldview identity.

Third, the narratives evidenced that religion is just one alternative for gaining knowledge of self. Other alternatives are education, counseling, and gangs.

Fourth, in comparing Christian and Islamic participants it emerged that not all of either faith who experience religious conversion and become inclusivist or exclusivist and in both types there are both incorporationists and rejectionists. Of the 22 participants 2 coding exclusive and 2 coding inclusive were rejecting of society. Moreover of those coding both exclusive and rejecting one was Christian and one was Islamic. Most participants were cooperative toward larger society whether inclusive or exclusive in religious identity.

Fifth, in each religion no definitive process of radicalization emerged although one participant professing Islam and that coded exclusive/rejecting spoke of hate of white people and racism. And, in another case a professing Christian that coded exclusive/rejecting spoke of leading people in violent opposition to government.

Sixth, the four participants coded rejectionist used particular words related to specific concepts that disassociated and sanctified their anti-social behavior even in light of their profession of religion and spirituality.

Seventh, descriptive words and phrases may be operationalized in relation to concepts and scales created to quantify findings in future studies.

Policy Implications for Corrections and Directions for Research

This research establishes a model study for giving prisoners a voice in their transformation, it offers guidelines for study of religious conversion in prison, provides assistance to the correctional system and supports the professional and volunteer chaplaincy as part of an overall prison treatment program designed to help individuals seeking to change their lives pro-socially to do so, to desist from crime and thereby reduce their chances of returning to prison. Findings support a conclusion that isolating one religion as a radicalizing source unduly burdens free practice of religion and fails to recognize other religions have similar tendencies. As noted by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (2008) restrictions on any non-Christian religion must not result in having their “free exercise” rights to practice religion unduly burdened by the state without a compelling interest.

Prison administrators, chaplains, psychologists, counselors are better equipped to understand how including religion or spirituality into correctional treatment assists desistance (stopping crime) and thereby helps prisoners help themselves not return to prison. It promotes a better understanding of how involving the felon in an active role will promote possible transformation to a pro-social member of society (Norcross & Wampold, 2010; Worthington, Hook, Davis, & McDaniel, 2010).

Importantly, the findings support the need for an interdisciplinary approach where treatment professionals and institutional administrators work holistically with religious services as part of an overall treatment program.  Simultaneously it speaks to the need for trained volunteers for all religious faiths served by the prison chaplaincy programs. It therefore provides support and direction for prison chaplaincy and volunteer programs and enhances chaplaincy as a correctional profession.

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Peace

January 21, 2018

I personally find it deplorable that so many men (thankfully not all) have degraded the male category of society to such an odious reflection of being a man. Are some women doing the same? We should all treat each other with human dignity.. I believe if each of us would treat others as we wished to be treated by others; we would all be moving our society(ies) in a prosocial direction. ~ Malcolm L Rigsby

Superstition and Dogmatism

January 16, 2018

Superstition and dogmatism closes the mind and enslaves it to stigmatized views and leads to teaching replication beliefs, norms and behavior. ~ Malcolm L Rigsby

Humanity in an Age Of Hate

January 15, 2018

Hate does nothing but bring additional hate. Treat others as you want also to be treated. Peace begins with each person’s own control over their self. ~ Malcolm L Rigsby

Sincerity

December 21, 2017

Personal Feelings. Men an Women are equal. They can either prove themselves worthy or they can go to ….

I only have use for people that work for what they have, are willing to sacrifice and do what they have to do in order to succeed!

Having said that.., they; all, (men and women) need to treat each other as they theirself would like me to be treated.

As a successful lawyer (who knows the system) I respect no one that simply uses the law to manipulate success and money.

There are; many bastards, (who as generic as men and women) fit the manipulative category mentioned above that are ‘not respected’.

Justice

December 17, 2017

I’m often amused by people making comments about law, legal process and theory as well as conceptualizations about meaning of law. Often is the case of incorrect and or skewed interpretations and application of legal terms and legal process. An added dynamic would be to distinguish a group from a society’s definition and vs the concept of ‘natural law’ vs a society’s law.

Justice for example may be defined many ways. The application of the definition chosen to be applied in the case is often selected in order to maximize potential for a finding of law or equity.

For example one definition of Justice is in a primary resource known as Black’s Law Dictionary. Justice: “Protecting rights and punishing wrongs using fairness. It is possible to have unjust laws, even with fair and proper administration of the law of the land as a way for all legal systems to uphold this ideal.”

Law is the highest and most formal norm of any society or may I add humankind. Norms hold us accountable for our behavior. Rewards inspire us to repeat habitually behavior consistent with norm. Punishments inspire us not to repeat behavior inconsistent with norm. All organized categories of human collectives have mores and laws. Mores normally don’t call for punishment of death or confinement but may result in severe treatment such as being ostracized. Laws require punishment as damages, fines, confinement and or death. These sanctions, both rewards and punishments, assist human collectives (whether groups, associations, organizations, societies or globality) to maintain an order in dynamics (change) of the collective and promote justice within and without the collective.

Returning to law: Not all law upholds natural law nor does social law always support natural law. Then again, Justice even if written to support an objectifiable end upholding the collective’s version of “Justice” may always be distorted by humans (either individually or as part of a collective such as politic) as they interpret and apply the law. Then again consider that laws that claim justice may sometimes be purposefully drafted (written) to give appearance of of objectifiable “justice” but in reality be a mystique to cover up for behaviors of one collective and or oppress another.

Given this end one must always evaluate closely the economic, social, cultural and political (as well as other types) context in which laws calling for “justice” are not only written, but also in which they are interpreted and applied. What in one era is mundane in another is heresy and yet in another patriotism. Hence, “heroes become villains, leaders become the prey, the envied fragrance of success becomes the stench of the deplored.”

As I look back over America’s 60 year history, in my brief lifespan, I see many good things have evolved and bettered humanity. Sometimes “Justice” was almost a success, or touted a success, but often I now find that justice fell woefully short of fairness and equity. Moreover many villains were the ones who reaped the rewards and others (for simplicity I”ll call these “the innocent”) reaped the punishments. Overall I see much of what was called successful “justice” was no more than arrogant pride by those with the power to direct media, politic, capital to manipulate Americans through versed recitation of “The American Dream” and the patriotic “machine of war” as the great equalizer of human kind and “deliverer of Democracy and Justice”. And thereby we “the Public were mesmerized and victimized in thinking our society the best. I suppose in time all young people find their hopes and dreams about a better society is somewhat taken back when life experiences show us that people globally are much more similar than different. In humanity we see the frailty that embraces most souls. That is; “the need to be approved”. Unfortunately, some seek this approval in seeking to prove to their own self value. In such things “self” seems often to direct some people to walk on and use others as a means to justify their own self value and righteousness. I see much of this in today’s society. This is not anything new, self glory has always been present perhaps even before the dispute of Cain against Able. But, at times social contexts seem to else pressure, or in the converse release, these types to oppress others in order to magnify their own value. In such times no matter what definition of justice is applied there seems to be a reduction in treating others “right and with justice”. To wit: “to treat others as you yourself would like to be treated.” Perhaps in the otherwise called “Golden Rule” there is found the best definition of “Justice”.

Let us not forget though that justice does not only embrace equality but equality tempered with equity. This is a crucial component of the American Democracy that was incorporated into the ideal founding this Republic we now call the United States if America. Justice perhaps is something no one truly wants for their self at least not all the time. Justice requires equity. In other words equality means if you commit a crime there is a punishment and there exists no mitigating circumstances, or excuses to otherwise reduce the fact that you failed to comply with the law full in every jot and tiddle. Even those who make a mistake and fail the law receive the same punishment delivered the most villainous infractor. But equity allows the unique context, situation and circumstances of the forbidden acts that led to the breaking of the law as well as the history and circumstances of the individual. Hence, punishment is a variable. Example: say that bread is in demand due to a famine. It costs &100.00 per loaf. Punishment in a law calls for 6 mos in jail. Tho people steal bread and both are caught and prosecuted. One has no work and 5 starving children together with the spouse there are seven in the family. The other is employed and stingy and hoards their pay each week. Equal application of the law is both go to jail for the 6 months. Is this equity? No. Equity says we can understand why the parent stole read, we all seek to live and care for our family and children, this is a norm of family that is found in both social and natural law. We want people to care for our families. The miser: we the American Dream is supported by social law at least in capitalistic societies such as America. Saving and showing yourself wealthy leads to social approval and high status. Yet it runs contrary to natural law that all should be able to enjoy the fruit of their labor. The miser has denied the bread maker these fruits. Should the miser in equity go to jail and the parent be punished perhaps by delivering bread for a week for the bread maker? So justice requires application of equality and equity. Sometimes equality does not lead to justice unless equity is also measured in order to promote humanity.

Well, I’ve rambled on long enough. But consider the following. When you hear the news, politics and capitalistic campaigns or other social movements outcry for justice consider that there is always more than one version of what happened or what is going on. Many peripheral events and objectives of others often distort story lines. Seek and consider objectifiable facts, look for distorted stories and context that may skew versions as well as outcomes. Examine the source of claims, accusations, and who it is that is delivering the story line. Seek justice but recall like the miser and the parent equality between all accused can deliver unjust results.. A “type” of wrongdoing cannot be compartmentalized and treated without discretion in regards to equity. Equity calls for facts to be proven, the evaluation of the circumstances of the accused, as well as the circumstances in which the alleged acts were to have occurred, as well as the context in which the act was to have occurred.

Sex and Work

December 14, 2017

I do not personally or as an attorney believe anyone should get away with forcing another for sex or sexual compromise or feel that in order to keep their job they must acquiesce to such behavior. Further I view having to work in an environment where one is exposed to lewd, crass remarks and or having to see pictures, or see or hear slogans, objectives about one’s sex or sexuality, or about sex as an act or sexuality, or “off color” jokes of a sexual nature as offensive and harassing and thereby these items create an environment of hate, hostility and harassment. In fact I don’t even like sexual Innuendo in the workplace at all. And as a man, I must firmly state that I have often been forced to endure colleagues who insist on exposing me to this type of environment in my own work places.

Having said this, as a student of history, law and society I know that responses to corrupt human conditions often correlate with a victimization, stigmatization and discriminatory environment where the innocent are treated shabbily and without recourse to accusations. The only rectifier is the use of civil recourse such as lawsuits in libel, slander, malicious prosecution, breach of contract, failure of employer duty to provide a protective workplace and civil rights infractions.

The current wave of derogatory treatment is an example of the necessity of the accused who believe their self innocent to take the stand and bring law suits against the accusers and the employers.

Travis Smiley offers an excellent response. Accusations should always be proven in a Court Of Law.

My response to PBS suspension full text here: facebook.com/TavisTalks/vid…

Silent No More

December 12, 2017

http://helpsaveoursons.com/silent-no-more/

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