Panek, Elżbieta, Anna Panek (2016) “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light [...] light”; Faith and religion through the lenses of the rehabilitation of convicts. „Profilaktyka Społeczna i Resocjalizacja” 31-32: 7-33.
The paper intends to take a broader perspective on the issue of religion in the life and rehabilitation of individuals sentenced to the penalty of imprisonment. It discusses the importance of faith and (mainly Christian) religion and religious practices in the specific context of incarceration, as well as the role of prison pastoral care and correctional volunteering, with some major references to the findings of the thematic empirical work. Moreover, the paper calls for a more in-depth (both empirical and theoretical) analysis of the effectiveness of religiously motivated rehabilitation, without any attempts at its idealization or depreciation. Excerpts from a prison diary - selected as meaningful parts of the paper (in order to outline, among all, the importance of the convicts’ conversions) - are not intended to stun the reader with their emotional message. They are rather testimonials of the life of individuals, in their own flesh and blood, and as such send a powerful message for others. The rest is just about the faith and the will of individual readers and their interpretations. As for things of importance, sometimes suffice is to tell about them (with no references to doctrinal interpretations and paradigms or without establishing any ad hoc scientific constructs). That approach proves that the author’s intent goes far beyond the accurate reporting, disentangled from personal and self-construed messages. Universal clues for choosing between the good and the evil just do not exist. But steps are being taken to save others from the effect of the evil. Prison constitutes a peculiar space of existence where human life can both come to its end or have a new beginning.
faith, religion, God, prison, conversion, rehabilitation