Faith-based initiatives refer broadly to a wide range of interventions and services offered to offenders, victims, and families by volunteers and organizations motivated by religious convictions. Although the term faith-based initiative has been associated with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (now the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships) since its establishment in 2001, the concept of faith-based initiatives far predates and transcends this federal program. This entry outlines the origin of faith-based initiatives within the criminal justice system, introduces contemporary faith-based programs, and surveys challenges confronting these services.

Origins of Faith-Based Correctional Programs

Faith-based initiatives in the U.S. criminal justice system date to the late 18th century. Religious leaders concerned by the brutality of corporal punishments advocated correctional reforms that gave rise to ...

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