Religious Life in an American Prison

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Four inmates—two Christian and two Muslim men from South Philadelphia—are serving life sentences at Pennsylvania’s maximum-security Graterford Prison, and all of them work in Graterford’s chapel. Joshua Dubler tells the story of one week in the prison chapel, and talks about the many uses prisoners make of their religions. He’s the author of Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison.


Joshua Dubler
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Comments [2]

jennifer from New Jersey

Christians get so uppity about their faith, and I say this as a former Christian. They act as though they invented God, good citizenship, compassion, and social justice. Seeing this attitude among prison officials is particularly offensive, seeing as how it's one place where you'd like very much to see people focus on spirituality as a step toward understanding their crime and repenting it. If someone wants to pray, let them pray and support them as Americans should be supported, with freedom to practice their faith as they see fit.

I'm not a Wiccan, but my Scottish aunt's family had a "pagan" branch--as they put it, "when the Christians came through Scotland, our family never converted." to my understanding, Wiccan is a religion of the indigenous peoples of Europe. Do we keep Native Americans from their religious observance in prison?

Aug. 13 2013 01:01 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Cardinal Dolan visits prisons three times a year, the last time he described it he said that many prisoners there are contrite, penitent, and very devout. He said that in March out of 550 inmmates 100 or 125 were at the Mass. They have used their time to grow in virtue and faith.

Prison ministries, many led by the late, Charles Colson, are doing wonderful work. It reminds one of the meaning of the word 'penitentiary'.

Aug. 13 2013 06:00 AM

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