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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Conclusions

Chaplaincy is an active part of every institution. A statewide average of 38% participation among eligible inmates indicates a significant level of involvement in chaplaincy institutional programs. There is no question there is inmate interest and involvement in institutional religious programs. The extent of programs and activities offered by Chaplaincy Services appears to have a more than coincidental positive effect on inmate behavior. The more religious activities offered, the greater the appeal to a wider group of inmates. With a behavioral effect evident when attendance is from four to nine times per month, it is possible to provide a significant benefit to institutional management through increased religious programming. More religious programs could be an effective tool to reduce disciplinary infractions at institutions. In CY 2000 alone, 31,669 different inmates received one or more DR's for a total of 73,634 DR's during the year. Additionally, as noted at institutions where there is a ratio of one chaplain to five hundred or less inmates, the participation rate is much better than the statewide norm. More Chaplains could very well be an integral element to solving the behavioral problems at institutions.

Participation in religious programming is a voluntary act by interested inmates. As such, religious programs and activities are having a positive effect on a significant number of inmates in the FDC.

Frankly, many correctional professionals have viewed religious programming at best as simply an answer to inmate idleness. Previous studies3, along with the findings of this study, suggest the fallacy of such reasoning. The impact of religious programming goes well beyond a simple answer to inmate idleness. Religious programming is an integral part of any professional correctional institution and may provide a cost effective management tool for reducing DR's.


3See the following: U.S. Department of Justice, Survey of State Prisoner, 1991, (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1993), Todd R. Clear, Ph.D., et al., Prisoners, Prisons and Religion, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University (1992). Byron R. Johnson, David B. Larson, Timothy C. Pitts, Religious Programs, Institutional Adjustment, and Recidivism Among Former Inmates in Prison Fellowship Programs, Justice Quarterly, Volume 14, No.1, March 1997. The Florida Department of Corrections, Harry K. Singletarry, Jr., Secretary, A Report of Faith-Based Programs in Correctional Facilities, December 1997. Florida House of Representatives, Committee on Corrections, Representative Allen Trovillion, Chair, Faith-Based Programs in Florida Prisons, January 1998.