Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Most State Prison Chaplains Say Religious Switching Common Among Inmates

Efforts by inmates at state prisons to proselytize or convert other inmates to another religion are common, according to a survey of prison chaplains in all 50 states. More than seven-in-ten (73%) chaplains report this kind of activity as either very or somewhat common. That being said, these do not necessarily succeed.

Still, 77% of chaplains say that there is either “a lot” (26%) or “some” religious switching among inmates (51%). About one-fifth (21%) say that switching does not occur much in the prisons where they work.

Among chaplains who report some switching, about half (51%) report that the Muslim population in prison is growing in number. In addition, just under half (47%) say the same about Protestant Christians. A sizable minority of chaplains (34%) answering this question also say that followers of pagan or earth-based religions are growing. Read More