xviii Introduction
influence how religious faith and college participation, experienced si­mul­ ta ­
neously, can impact former prisoners’ attempts to achieve successful commu-
nity reentry.
Since the groundbreaking work of William James (1902) in The Va­ri­e­ties of
Religious Experience, as well as Brock’s (1962) influential study, many schol-
ars have explored the foundational issue in the study of religion: religious con-
version. In Chapter 9, Rigsby revisits this issue via in-­depth interviews with
religious converts in a men’s prison. The sample included converts to Chris­
tian­ity and Islam, and ­ those interviews ­ were supplemented with prison chap-
lain interviews. Leary summarizes the prisoners’ accounts of the conversion
pro­cess, as well as their interpretations of identity before, during, and ­after
conversion. In Chapter 10, Hays pres­ents findings from in-­depth interviews
with maximum security inmates participating in a prison seminary program.
Participants ­were asked about their favorite scriptural stories, and Hays reports
that they had a surprisingly extensive knowledge of religious texts, including
not only the passages themselves but also their historical context. In many
ways, ­ these results call into question the popu­lar culture notion that prison-
ers typically claim religious conversion or affiliation for special considerations
and not for deeply held beliefs.
Chaplains play a critical role in the provision of faith-­based programs and
in the practice of faith among inmates, and yet have been the subject of few
empirical studies. In Chapter 11, Denney fills this gap in the lit­ er ­ a­ture via his
analy­sis of in-­depth interviews with active prison chaplains. He finds rich
information about the backgrounds and motivations of chaplains, including
perceptions of how their occupation has changed over time. In Chapter 12,
Jolicoeur and Grant discuss current restrictions on religious freedom in prison
through the conceptual lens of judicial interpretation. They examine several
legislative acts and key cases from the United States and other nations. They
pres­ent evidence of an evolving and fluid conceptualization of inmate religious
freedom, and explain how some restrictions on this freedom have been deemed
acceptable, while ­ others have not.
Part 3 is entitled Religion in Prison outside the United States. Although some
previous chapters included international ele­ments, the chapters ­here focus
specifically on prisons and inmates from outside the United States. ­These
papers also fill an impor­tant need in the lit­ er ­ a­ture by focusing on religious
adherents from faith traditions other than Christian and Evangelical Protes-
tant ones. In Chapter 13, Williams and Liebling provide a much-­needed
understanding of religion and prison life from the perspective of Muslim
inmates. Drawing from fieldwork and in-­depth interviews in two En­glish
high-­security prisons, the authors describe the entanglements between faith
recognition and provision, identity and meaning, and institutional power. In
Chapter 14, Rubin provides an overview of the potential for radicalization
among new Muslim converts in prison contexts. He finds that jihadist
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