Oct 17, 2018



Last Name
First Name
Byron R.
More God, Less Crime: Why Faith Matters and How It Could Matter More
Templeton Press
Amazon Review/s
Summary: In More God, Less Crime, renowned criminologist Byron R. Johnson proves that religion can be a powerful antidote to crime. There is mounting evidence that increasing religiosity not only reduces crime and delinquency, but it also promotes prosocial behavior. In spite of these findings, experts rarely include the “faith factor” in discussions of possible solutions to crime, drug use, offender treatment, or ex-prisoners returning to society. This failing can be attributed in equal measure to the secular criminal justice professionals who allow their own anti-religious prejudices to shape their judgements, as well as to the religious volunteers who rely so heavily on their own beliefs that they see no need to validate their work with actual research. These shortcomings have cost the American public untold damages in both wealth and safety. The central argument of the book is that faith-motivated individuals, faith-based organizations, and the transformative power of faith itself are proven keys in reducing crime and improving the effectiveness of our criminal justice system. We now know that intentional partnerships between congregations and law enforcement can lead to dramatic improvement in police-community relations and reductions in crime, youth violence, and gang activity. We also know that faith-based programs can provide an antidote to the harmful culture that permeates so many of our correctional facilities. In this way, religion can change prisons from an environment of learning even more deviant behavior to places where rehabilitation is a realistic possibility. Additionally, faith-based mentors and faith-based groups can provide both the support and supervision necessary to help not only prisoners, but also those former prisoners, stay crime-free by leading moral and productive lives. There is scattered research literature on religion and crime but until now, there has never been one publication that systematically and rigorously analyzes what we know from this largely overlooked body of research in a lay-friendly format. More God, Less Crime presents empirical evidence in support of its claims and also provides examples of how faith-based approaches are successfully addressing some of the most difficult social problems facing our society. Exemplary programs and best practices suggest how and why faith-based groups should become central allies in comprehensive strategies to improve law enforcement, the courts, and our correctional system. Finally, the book describes how communities of faith are uniquely positioned to become the centerpiece of a new crime-fighting strategy to confront the biggest obstacle of all: the disadvantaged communities from which come the vast majority of those populating our criminal justice system.

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