Criminal Justice & Religion
RELIGION AND EVERYDAY LIFE AND CULTURE, p. 657, Vincent F. Biondo &, Richard D. Hecht, eds., Praeger, 2010
16 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2010
Date Written: December 12, 2009
This chapter examines the relationship between criminal justice and religious traditions in the U.S. It outlines a general framework to illuminate the historical tensions between criminality and religious tradition. It further argues that even though the notion of “separation of church and state” is held in high esteem, in practice, history shows that Christian ideals can be linked to the very foundations of American law. The criminal justice system is no exception, and the impacts of Christianity can be seen from the very beginning of its development. In turn, the criminal justice system has played an influential role in the history and day to day realities of religious practitioners and their communities. As home to the largest prison population in the world, this chapter reveals the U.S. criminal justice system is a key factor in the religious practice of many.
Keywords: Religion, Criminal Justice, Penitentiary, Civil Religion, Scapegoat
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