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Special Needs Offenders in Correctional Institutions
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Prisons are tense, cheerless, and often degrading places in which all inmates struggle to maintain their equilibrium despite violence, exploitation, lack of privacy, stringent limitations on family and community contacts, and a paucity of opportunities for meaningful education, work, or other productive activities. As a general matter, prisoners come to see prison as their home and try to make the most of the limited resources available in prison; they establish daily routines that allow them to find meaning and purpose in their prison lives, lives that might otherwise seem empty and hopeless. The resilience shown by prisoners should not be construed as an argument for more or longer prison sentences or for more punitive regimes of confinement, but rather is a reminder that human beings can find meaning in adversity. Prisons are meant to be settings of adversity but should strive to accommodate the human needs of their inhabitants and to promote constructive changes in behavior. Here, there are programmatic offerings that may provide prisoners with the hope, skills, and empowerment necessary to overcome barriers to achievement and success as human beings in any social context. A current line of inquiry has focused on faith based prison programs and the potential benefits that a deepened spiritual life might have on coping with the "doing time" experience, changing old lifestyles, and reducing the likelihood of people returning to prison. These points will be explored throughout this chapter.
Zaitzow, Barbara H. and Jones, Richard S., "Redemption from the Inside-Out: The Power of Faith-Based Programming" (2012). Social and Cultural Sciences Faculty Research and Publications. 54.