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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.

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.

Giddens on Consequences of Modernity

October 6, 2016

Notes:  “The Contours of High Modernity”[1]   Obviously Giddens rejects that we have moved from a modern society to a post-modern or informational society.  Rather he promotes that we are still in …

Source: Giddens on Consequences of Modernity

Winds of Change and America’s Weakening Glue

October 1, 2016

Personally I believe much of the problem today arises in the 1990s political drive focusing on “diversity” or distinctions between American peoples in terms of subcategories categories …

Source: Winds of Change and America’s Weakening Glue

Winds of Change and America’s Weakening Glue

October 1, 2016

Personally I believe much of the problem today arises in the 1990s political drive focusing on “diversity” or distinctions between American peoples in terms of subcategories categories in terms of migrant cultural traditions and histories of their ancestors.  
     This process places notations on differences and often fosters or increases ‘exclusivity’. In this case the categorical identity of US nationalism was the driving force behind the diversity movement. This monocular focus created tension over cultures and histories of subcategories of Americans. This focus on differences has in my opinion increased tensions over cultural and historical distinctions thereby translating into exclusivist dogmas in self identity’ and ‘community identity’.  
     Rather than diverse sub-identities (for we each have many) the national “and” cultural focus together should have been and more so now should be to seize upon “unity” or similarity” of Americans as a dominant culture. After all, those who have sought to become Americans are above all else Americans. And while each sub category of Americans have cultural traditions and histories to be proud of we as Americans have a dominant culture and history to take pride in, share with others, and seek together to make even greater.  
     The diversity movement in my opinion has confused the definition of what it is to be American. This has created an anomic effect: creating too great a focus on diversity and driving egoistic responses from the many sub-categories who are each groping for understanding and direction in life (Durkheim 1915). Each sub-category of Americans find themselves lost in direction and have little guidance to call upon for answers. Increasingly our populous distrusts the status quo in terms of politic, religion, family, military, government, the three branches of criminal justice, media and health care.  
     Without restoration in social solidarity our American culture is progressively coming unglued and frays of the tearing cloth are our people fluttering in the wind. A wind of too rapid change unregulated and little in terms in integration.  

Racism and Ethnocentrism

August 8, 2016

I saw this idiot and couldn’t help but say “jerk”. I as many others am not ‘those people’. I am white and I am as proud of it as any other person of any other culture or race. The time of blaming others as a group is passed. Am I ignorant of racism and ethnocentrism? No I am not. Regardless, I believe that love and recognition of others as fellow human beings is

the answer to peace. Is that realizable? Yes, it is. Though it may not be probable we who wish it must always strive for it. Those who carte blanc blame all ‘so called’ white people for the perpetuation of racism and ethnocentrism are a part of the reason for its perpetuation.  

Wave of Police Killing

July 23, 2016

Just Thinking. I agree there is no excuse for public officials including law enforcement to be physically or emotionally abusive toward; including cursing citizens of the US of whom they are to ser…

Source: Wave of Police Killing

Wave of Police Killing

July 23, 2016

Just Thinking. I agree there is no excuse for public officials including law enforcement to be physically or emotionally abusive toward; including cursing citizens of the US of whom they are to serve and protect. This includes those who are stopped, suspect, arrested, and or convicted as well as witnesses, victims and general public citizenry.
Having said this…those who who kill a law enforcement officer (since canine are called officer now I define officer as a human) should if found guilty be executed by formal procedure of the State. If these killings of law enforcement continue it appears that the rights of ordinary US citizenry will suffer under the control of a Police State. Once this occurs the protections of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution will be curtailed as least restrictive means to optimize safety and life of officials as well as the public order. Those whom I have heard saying that law enforcement is getting its just desert had better consider the consequences of a restrictive reading of the US Constitution and its Amendments (which also includes the 2nd Amendment).
Once suspended or narrowed in interpretive scope the citizenry will lose both civil and protective rights against abuse by the State and the Court will most likely consider “least restrictive” means in controlling citizen freedom of movement, search and seizure, and speech very broadly in favor of State action toward citizens.  

Me, Myself and I

June 26, 2016

I’m Proud that I am a Caucasian Western European American Man! I am tired of being down graded and focused on as a member of a group portrayed as a source of problem in the world. I take pride in saying this. It certainly does not say that I despise, belittle, condemn, oppress or hate anyone else. It simply means I am what I am and I have no apology for this being and I find satisfaction in this reality. I am Scott, I am Welsh, I am British, I am Canadian, and I am All American. As in the sixties the Establishment said about America: Love it or Leave it, now I say about me Like it or Lump it! 😄

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