College

Arts & Sciences

Department

Criminology & Criminal Justice

Rank

Professor

Biographical Statement

Michael Hallett is a Professor in the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice at the University of North Florida. His work has appeared in numerous books and journals including Punishment & Society, Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, Contemporary Justice Review, Critical Criminology and others. In 2006, Dr. Hallett received the Gandhi, King Ikeda Award from Morehouse College for his book Private Prisons in America: A Critical Race Perspective (University of Illinois Press). Dr. Hallett received the Outstanding Graduate Alumnus Award from his doctoral alma mater, Arizona State University, in 2007. He currently also serves as a Senior Research Fellow at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. Dr. Hallett has been principal investigator on grants from the US Department of Justice, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Jesse Ball DuPont Foundation and several other organizations.

Title of Work

The Angola Prison Seminary Effects of Faith-Based Ministry on Identity Transformation, Desistance, and Rehabilitation

Type of Work

Book

Publication Information

Book published by Routledge (2016).

Description of Work

Corrections officials faced with rising populations and shrinking budgets have increasingly welcomed "faith-based" providers offering services at no cost to help meet the needs of inmates. Drawing from three years of on-site research, this book utilizes survey analysis along with life-history interviews of inmates and staff to explore the history, purpose, and functioning of the Inmate Minister program at Louisiana State Penitentiary (aka "Angola"), America’s largest maximum-security prison. This book takes seriously attributions from inmates that faith is helpful for "surviving prison" and explores the implications of religious programming for an American corrections system in crisis, featuring high recidivism, dehumanizing violence, and often draconian punishments. A first-of-its-kind prototype in a quickly expanding policy arena, Angola’s unique Inmate Minister program deploys trained graduates of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in bi-vocational pastoral service roles throughout the prison. Inmates lead their own congregations and serve in lay-ministry capacities in hospice, cell block visitation, delivery of familial death notifications to fellow inmates, "sidewalk counseling" and tier ministry, officiating inmate funerals, and delivering "care packages" to indigent prisoners. Life-history interviews uncover deep-level change in self-identity corresponding with a growing body of research on identity change and religiously motivated desistance. The concluding chapter addresses concerns regarding the First Amendment, the dysfunctional state of U.S. corrections, and directions for future research.

 

The Angola Prison Seminary Effects of Faith-Based Ministry on Identity Transformation, Desistance, and Rehabilitation

Corrections officials faced with rising populations and shrinking budgets have increasingly welcomed "faith-based" providers offering services at no cost to help meet the needs of inmates. Drawing from three years of on-site research, this book utilizes survey analysis along with life-history interviews of inmates and staff to explore the history, purpose, and functioning of the Inmate Minister program at Louisiana State Penitentiary (aka "Angola"), America’s largest maximum-security prison. This book takes seriously attributions from inmates that faith is helpful for "surviving prison" and explores the implications of religious programming for an American corrections system in crisis, featuring high recidivism, dehumanizing violence, and often draconian punishments. A first-of-its-kind prototype in a quickly expanding policy arena, Angola’s unique Inmate Minister program deploys trained graduates of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in bi-vocational pastoral service roles throughout the prison. Inmates lead their own congregations and serve in lay-ministry capacities in hospice, cell block visitation, delivery of familial death notifications to fellow inmates, "sidewalk counseling" and tier ministry, officiating inmate funerals, and delivering "care packages" to indigent prisoners. Life-history interviews uncover deep-level change in self-identity corresponding with a growing body of research on identity change and religiously motivated desistance. The concluding chapter addresses concerns regarding the First Amendment, the dysfunctional state of U.S. corrections, and directions for future research.