Social Justice Research

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 315–322 | Cite as

Social Justice and Religion in Prison: The Case of England and Wales

  • James A. Beckford


The policy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in the United States is to show equal respect for all religious faiths, but the Prison Service Chaplaincy of England and Wales employs only Christian chaplains and is effectively controlled by the “established” Church of England. Recent empirical research shows that prisoners who belong to minority faith communities and new religious movements in England and Wales do not enjoy equality of opportunity to practice their religion. For example, their religious and spiritual needs are met by volunteer Visiting Ministers, who in turn must rely on full-time Christian chaplains to facilitate their access to prisoners, meeting rooms, and religious artifacts. This dependency gives rise to feelings of resentment, unjust discrimination, and marginalization among members of minority faith communities.

religion prison chaplain equality England 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • James A. Beckford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of WarwickUSA

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