Can Faith in God Cure Criminals?

| by FRC

By Jessica Prol

Trini Lazano wants to avoid being another statistic. Lazano is a Louisiana native, doing prison time for drug possession and theft and he’s scheduled to be released later this month.

According to an April 2011 study released by The Pew Center on the States, “43.3 percent of those [prisoners] sent home in 2004 were reincarcerated within three years, either for committing a new crime or for violating conditions governing their release.”

The study indicates that reincarceration or recidivism rates are key measure of the criminal justice system’s success. Minnesota Commissioner of Corrections, Tom Roy says the following:

Prisons are often the forgotten element of the criminal justice system until things go badly. Catching the guy and prosecuting him is really important work, but if we don’t do anything with that individual after we’ve got him, then shame on us. If all that effort goes to waste and we just open the doors five years later, and it’s the same guy walking out the door and the same criminal thinking, we’ve failed in our mission.

For years, Prison Fellowship has offered numerous faith-informed to minister to prisoners and their families. In an economic environment where some states, like North Carolina, are cutting their chaplain program, faith-based volunteers may be filling an increasingly vital role.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections recently honored 32 volunteers for their work within the Corrections system.

But how effective are these volunteers? Where does faith fit in the picture?

Byron Johnson is a renowned criminologist and author of the new book More God, Less Crime: Why Faith Matters and How It Could Matter MoreJoin us live or via webcast, at noon today as Johnson discusses the link between faith, community, and criminal behavior.

Trino Lazono says, “God saved my life,” and hopes “[j]ust maybe I can save somebody’s life.” Johnson’s research gives Lazono, and so many others, reason for hope.