Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Benjamin Steiner


The effect of religion and religiosity on inmate misconduct has received limited scholarly attention, and among those existing studies that have examined this issue, the evidence is mixed. Research has demonstrated that religion and religiosity have a substantial association with various forms of deviance, but this relationship has not been as consistent in correctional contexts. Research has offered some insights into the explanations for the mixed findings regarding religiosity and inmate misconduct. Studies indicate that inmates may select into religion, and that substantial differences between religious and non-religious inmates may confound the relationship between religiosity and misconduct. On the other hand, studies in the general population have discovered that religious environments condition (strengthen and reinforce) the effect of individual religiosity. In this dissertation, I use a nationally representative sample of male inmates housed in state correctional facilities to examine these issues, and estimate the effect of religiosity and religious environments on inmate misconduct. The findings revealed that religiosity was related to lower rates of assaults among inmates, but it was largely irrelevant for predicting other types of misconduct (drug/alcohol and other nonviolent misconduct). The results also uncovered null effects of facility-level religiosity on misconduct rates across facilities, and revealed that facility-level religiosity did not condition the individual-level relationship between religiosity and inmate misconduct.