Religiosity, Religious Participation, and Negative Prison Behaviors



An impressive research literature has emerged that identifies linkages between religion and a wide range of attitudes, behaviors, and life events. One of the recurrent themes in this literature is that religion may operate as a force both for reducing antisocial behaviors and for increasing prosocial behaviors. We build upon this research by examining survey data of inmates at a large southeastern prison facility to determine whether religiosity can reduce the odds of frequent inmate arguing and fighting. Overall, our results indicate that religiosity directly reduces the likelihood of arguing and indirectly reduces the likelihood of fighting. We conclude that the efficacy of religiosity and religious programs for individuals in prison rests on whether they can promote basic prosocial behaviors.