cover image More God, Less Crime: Why Faith Matters and How It Could Matter More

More God, Less Crime: Why Faith Matters and How It Could Matter More

Byron R. Johnson. Templeton, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-59947-373-4

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. (May)