Religion and Criminal Justice

3 credits


Religious Studies
College of Arts and Science

This course helps students become more familiar with a religious, sociological, and American studies approach toward understanding the complicated relationship between religion and the U.S. prison system. It addresses the influence of religion on the development of the justice system in the United States and enables students to understand how this influence extends into the present day. Unit one centers on understanding religion and familiarizing ourselves with certain components of the criminal justice system. Unit two examines the direct relationship between the two institutions, and Unit three is an exploration specifically of religion and capital punishment (the death penalty). Throughout this class we will also explore via the podcast “Serial”, as well as other sources both fictional and nonfictional that give students the opportunity to contemplate complex concepts frequently taken for granted such as criminality, justice, punishment, and of course – guilt and innocence. Recommended: Introductory courses in one or more of the following disciplines: Sociology, Religious Studies, Psychology, Philosophy, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Political Science.


Can only count for one of these categories.