More God, Less Crime: Why Faith Matters and How It Could Matter More is geared toward federal, state, county and community corrections, as well as parole and probation faith-based partnerships for youths and adults. I recommend this book as a crucial read for all sectors involved in a faith-based initiative that is established or just commencing. Correctional practitioners will find that the InnerChange Freedom initiative is different than other prison ministries in that it represents the first full-scale attempt to offer religious programs in a prison environment virtually around the clock.
The essential perspective is a spiritual confrontation with the authentic self. Basic dysfunctional characteristics can be transformed from negatives to positives with faith-based mentors/spiritual partners who provide holistic and metaphysical examples via their lifestyles, which encompass behavior that is visible and measurable.
Inmates, while incarcerated, need a structure, safe environment that allows participation time for assigned details as well as denominational and nondenominational services of worship to include praise teams. These elements provide consistency of support and nurture. Spiritual development is a transformational journey that seeks a redemptive core of values. Staff and faith-based partners (volunteers) provide additional insight due to the integral role they play in the inmate’s daily life.
The five spiritual transformation themes provide a comprehensive rebirth from secular norms and pressures to Christian values. According to Johnson, there is a need to have redemptive value coupled with the need to give back and make amends to the Christian community. Stigmatization of the inmate identification number can cause shame-based feelings of unimportance, devaluation and worthlessness. Mentoring received from faith-based partners is hypercritical to the transformation change to embracing a life of change and being accepted, first by God. Accountability for written and verbal words is a major change for an inmate due to the prison culture, which has its own vocabulary. The choice to be mentored changes the inmate’s cognitive structure. Social gender makes an impact, as faith-based partners are both female and male. Relationships are culled in order to embrace the new life of spiritual metamorphosis that will heighten their belief system of Christian norms. Reentry is a crucial dynamic that is pivotal with the need for assistance transitioning back into society. There is a need for a residence plan, employment, physical and/or mental health medications, family restructuring, education and finances just to name a few, along with spiritual development as a life-long need. “Intermediaries are an important strategy to level the playing field by assisting organizations in being more productive and enhancing important community resources,” Johnson said.
More God, Less Crime: Why Faith Matters and How It Could Matter More addresses the need for more faith-based partnerships, intermediaries and opportunities for those inmates who have been transformed by their choice to join the Christian community. The tables with quantitative analysis have the fluidity to change with more positive outcomes if society at large embraces the redemptive religious programming format that changes and challenges an inmate to integrate successfully back into society.