The dilemma of evaluating faith-based correctional programs in institutional and community setting

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John D. Hewitt
Robert M. Regoli

Abstract

Faith-based correctional programs are intended to produce inner change in participants. Research conĀ­firming positive effects of these programs may then support program continuation or expansion. Empirical evaluations can measure ethical action, but not redemption in terms of transcendent reality. This paper argues that evaluations of faith-based programs are incorrectly tied to empirical designs based in social science, rather than on understandings about the true redemptive changes that can occur in the lives of participants in the programs. We suggest that grace and redemption are beyond the reaches of scientific inquiry and that empirically-based evaluation studies of such programs miss the mark

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