In More God, Less Crime renowned criminologist Byron R. Johnson proves that religion can be a powerful antidote to crime. The book describes how faith communities, congregations, and faith-based organizations are essential in forming partnerships necessary to provide the human and spiritual capital to effectively address crime, offender rehabilitation, and the substantial aftercare problems facing former prisoners. There is scattered research literature on religion and crime but until now, there has never been one publication that systematically and rigorously analyzes what we know from this largely overlooked body of research in a lay-friendly format. The data shows that when compared to current strategies, faith-based approaches to crime prevention bring added value in targeting those factors known to cause crime: poverty, lack of education, and unemployment. In an age of limited fiscal resources, Americans can’t afford a criminal justice system that turns its nose up at volunteer efforts that could not only work better than the abysmal status quo, but also save billions of dollars at the same time. This book provides readers with practical insights and recommendations for a faith-based response that could do just that.
In 2006, total expenditures for the U.S. criminal justice system exceeded $214 billion. This cost did not include the social or psychological impact of crime or the loss of revenue from the incarceration of individuals who otherwise might be socially and economically productive. While police departments and social and civic organizations continue to seek solutions to contributing factors to crime in society, criminologist Johnson of Baylor University demonstrates through interviews and surveys that faith-motivated individuals, faith-based organizations, and the transformative power of faith itself are proven keys in reducing crime and improving the criminal justice system. He points to the example of the "Boston Miracle," in which faith-based groups initiated measures that successfully brought together clergy and police in a cooperative effort to stem gang violence in that city. Johnson honestly assesses the efforts of religious organizations and their influence, acknowledging that even after involvement with various faith-based projects some individuals return to crime. Regrettably, the academic tone and the overly defensive first chapter of the book will keep it from reaching the broad audience it should reach.