More God, Less Crime
Why Faith Matters and How It Could Matter More
Byron R. Johnson
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.
In More God, Less Crime renowned criminologist Byron R. Johnson proves that religion can be a powerful antidote to crime. The book describes how faith communities, congregations, and faith-based organizations are essential in forming partnerships necessary to provide the human and spiritual capital to effectively address crime, offender rehabilitation, and the substantial aftercare problems facing former prisoners. 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. The data shows that when compared to current strategies, faith-based approaches to crime prevention bring added value in targeting those factors known to cause crime: poverty, lack of education, and unemployment. In an age of limited fiscal resources, Americans can’t afford a criminal justice system that turns its nose up at volunteer efforts that could not only work better than the abysmal status quo, but also save billions of dollars at the same time. This book provides readers with practical insights and recommendations for a faith-based response that could do just that.
More God, Less Crime will serve a roadmap for how the “faith factor” can become a powerful catalyst to mobilize faith-based efforts to more effectively confront the many chronic problems facing the American criminal justice system. It should be required reading not only for those working within this system, but for the everyday people who fill the pews of the more than 380,000 religious congregations across the country as well.
A MESSAGE FROM THE AUTHOR—–
Go to: www.moregodlesscrime.com to visit the website for my book and participate in the ongoing discussion that features important topics addressed in the book. The website will be a resource for practitioners, scholars, volunteers, and students interested in the many ways in which religion and faith-motivated individuals have made such a difference within the field of criminal justice. It will also serve as a tool for sharing new approaches that will focus on how faith and faith-motivated groups and individuals could matter even more. All my best, Byron