Prison as a site of intense religious change : the example of conversion to Islam

Wilkinson, M ORCID:, Irfan, L, Quraishi, MM ORCID: and Schneuwly Purdie, M ORCID: 2021, 'Prison as a site of intense religious change : the example of conversion to Islam' , Religions, 12 (3) , e162.

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Based on the findings of mixed-methods research conducted with 279 Muslim prisoners in 10 prisons in England, Switzerland and France, this paper argues that contemporary European prisons are sites of intense religious change, in which many people born outside Islam and many born-Muslims believe in and practise Islam for the first time. In order to map this experience of intense religious change in prison, the paper articulates an original typology of conversion to identify Muslim converts as Switchers and Intensifiers. Both of these types of convert mobilise their Islam to turn to God in acts of repentance for their crime(s), to find a renewed purpose in life and to re-gain psychological balance and inner peace. By contrast, a minority of prisoners are Reducers, whose Islamic faith diminishes in prison. A minority of converts to Islam also persist or become more deeply entrenched in the Islamist Worldview of Us vs. Them. Therefore, while choosing to follow Islam in prison carries with it some criminogenic risk, conversion to Islam is significantly more likely to help than to hinder prisoners’ rehabilitation by enabling them to feel remorse for their crimes, reconnecting them with work and education and encouraging them to find emotionally supportive company.

Item Type: Article
Contributors: Mills Daniel, D (Editor)
Additional Information: ** From MDPI via Jisc Publications Router ** Licence for this article: **Journal IDs: eissn 2077-1444 **History: published 03-03-2021; accepted 25-02-2021
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Journal or Publication Title: Religions
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2077-1444
Related URLs:
Funders: The Dawes Trust
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router
Depositing User: Publications Router
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2021 09:58
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 06:52

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