24 Feb 2023


Role of Christian Values and Leadership in Correctional Facilities

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The criminal justice system, including the administration of the incarcerated persons, derives a lot from the Christian leadership and the associated Christian values and beliefs. Over the years, the justice system has seen the mushrooming of various faith-based programs that aim at supporting people serving jail terms ( Brazzell & Vigne, 2008 ). Increasingly, policymakers and practitioners in the criminal justice sector are turning to faith-based communities such as those established by the Church to help in the administration of people placed under correctional programs ( Brazzell & Vigne, 2008 ). Similarly, adherence to Christian values and beliefs will help promote the observance of the Standard of Employee Conduct and Federal Bureau of Prisons policies. Christian leadership and the associated values and beliefs thus can positively influence the operations of the criminal justice sector and correctional facilities. 

In the wake of the ballooning mass incarceration, Christian leadership in the criminal justice system can conduct national awareness campaigns. These campaigns can target the de-escalation of the mass incarceration programs in the country. Levad (2019) terms the crisis in the criminal justice sector as a social condition that is defined by high rates of imprisonment and large populations of inmates. Christian leadership is a crucial stakeholder in the functioning of the society, including the correctional programs provided by both the federal and state governments. Christina groups such as Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of Southern Baptists Convention (ERLC) are at the forefront in pushing for reforms in the correctional programs. In 2017, ERLC, spearheaded by Prison Fellowship, sought to rally Christians against mass incarcerations ( Allen, 2017 ). Christian leaders in the correctional system can take a cue from these groups by supporting their agenda. Mass incarceration overstrains the resources of the system, thus making it ineffective and inefficient in achieving its objectives. 

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Although Christian leadership is pushing for constructive programs within the correctional facilities, mass incarceration programs overstretch the available resources. Christian leadership in prison management can advocate for improved programs such as training programs, substance abuse treatment, and counseling ( Liske, 2015 ). The main aim of a correctional facility is not to segregate an inmate from society but should be to offer behavioral change programs. As Christian leaders within the system, working together with those on the outside should agitate for better programs. Without such interventions, released inmates will likely return to the life of crime, resulting in re-incarceration, which in itself is a vicious cycle. The leadership should thus push for more resources and enhancement of the programs. 

Observance of Christian values can indeed help in promoting adherence to the Standard of Employee Conduct and the Federal Bureau of Prisons policies (FBP). Christian values and beliefs are fundamental bedrock for ethical conduct. Adherence to standards of conduct and policies provide by the FBP is fully hinged on ethics (“ U.S. Department of Justice,” 2013 ). The policy generally requires that its employees conduct themselves with dignity and honesty. For example, employees are required to obey the laws and adhere to ethical standards provided for in the policies. For those working in the procurement sector, they are required to conform to integrity regulations. Last, employees are not supposed to use physical violence, threats, and intimidations towards the inmates (“ U.S. Department of Justice," 2013 ). Christian values of accountability, transparency, and obeying laws all work towards having a better working correctional system in the country. 

Christian leadership and values can help in bettering the correctional system in the U.S. The leadership can help agitate for the de-escalation of mass incarceration by joining faith-based initiatives that are fighting for better correctional facilities. Also, the leadership can play an instrumental role in requesting for the improvement of programs such as counseling and training of inmates. Equally, Christian values and beliefs are fundamental in the adherence of the employee code of conduct and policies created by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The ethical practice of employees is hinged on their Christian values and beliefs. 


Allen, B. (2017).  Christian leaders call for criminal justice reform – Baptist News Global . Baptist News Global. Retrieved 17 February 2020, from baptistnews.com/article/christian-leaders-call-criminal-justice-reform/#.XkoorWgzbIU

Brazzell, D., & La Vigne, N. (2008). Evaluating the potential of faith-based correctional models: A case study of Florida’s faith-based and character-based institutions.  Innovations in Effective Compassion , 237. 

Levad, A. (2019). Repairing the breach: Faith-based community organizing to dismantle mass incarceration.  Religions 10 (1), 42. 

Liske, J. (2015).  The Christian and the Criminal Justice System - Prison Fellowship . Prison Fellowship. Retrieved 17 February 2020, from www.prisonfellowship.org/2015/11/the-christian-and-the-criminal-justice-system/

U.S. Department of Justice. (2013).  PROGRAM STATEMENT: Standards of Employee Conduct  [Ebook] (1st ed.). Retrieved 17 February 2020, from www.bop.gov/policy/progstat/3420_011.pdf. 

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