‘Faith-Based’ Inmate Program In Oklahoma Disappoints

A “faith-based” inmate counseling program performed no better than secular programs, an Oklahoma state commission has reported.

In September, the Oklahoma Sentencing Commission reviewed a study by the Criminal Justice Resource Center that “shows little difference between recidivism among participants in Genesis One and other inmates leaving the prison system.”

The director of the Genesis One prison ministry said that participants must be willing to “accept God” and claimed the program could only work if inmates converted to Christianity. The AP reported that Oklahoma corrections officials had employed the religious group to help inmates prepare to return to society.

Steven W. Taylor, a member of the sentencing commission and an Oklahoma Supreme Court justice, said the study showed that recidivism rates for male Genesis One participants over a five-year period was 36.9 percent, the same as the general rate for all Oklahoma inmates.