Faith and Ser­vice: Pathways
to Identity Transformation and
Correctional Reform
Byron R. Johnson, Grant Duwe, Michael Hallett,
Joshua Hays, Sung Joon Jang, Matthew T. Lee,
Maria E. Pagano, and Stephen G. Post
Over the last several de­cades, a significant body of evidence has emerged that
consistently documents how religiosity (i.e., vari­ous mea­sures of religious
commitment) is associated with reductions in delinquent be­hav­ior among
youth (Baier & Wright 2001; Johnson & Jang 2012; Johnson, Thompkins, &
Webb 2006). Importantly, the salutary effect of religion remains significant
even when accounting for other ­factors that might also prevent illegal be­hav­
ior (  Johnson, Jang, Larson, & Li 2001). Similarly, research has found that
highly religious low-­income youth from disadvantaged communities are less
likely to use drugs than less religious youth from the same poverty-­stricken
neighborhoods (  Jang & Johnson 2001). ­
There is also evidence that religious involvement may lower the risks of
vari­ous kinds of delinquent be­hav­iors, including both minor and serious forms
of criminal be­hav­ior (Evans, Cullen, Burton, & Dunaway 1996). Addition-
ally, one study found that religious involvement may have a cumulative effect
throughout adolescence and may significantly lessen the risk of ­later adult
criminality (  Jang, Bader, & Johnson 2008; see also Jang & Johnson 2011). In
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