Seperation of church and state is fine and good, but what happens when religious teachings yield better results than secular programs?
In a nutshell, [Byron] Johnson [of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society] found that those who completed all three program phases were "significantly less likely than the matched groups" to be either arrested (17.3% vs. 35%) or incarcerated (only 8% vs. 20.3%) in the first two years after release.
Here's how spiritual conversion reads in academese: "Narratives of IFI members revealed five spiritual transformation themes that are consistent with characteristics long associated with offender rehabilitation: (a) I'm not who I used to be; (b) spiritual growth; (c) God versus the prison code; (d) positive outlook on life; and (e) the need to give back to society."
All this, no doubt, will be profoundly discomforting to those who like the results but don't like the religion; a similar program in Iowa is already being sued by the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. But the question is joined: Can you achieve the positive social outcomes of faith-based programs if you strip out the faith?