Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.789279
Title: In what ways does the Christian faith impact on the desistance of black male ex-prisoners?
Author: Rawlins, Stephen Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 4560
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Abstract:
My inspiration for conducting this study was based on my personal experience as a black male Christian ex-prisoner (BMCEP) and my successful desistance that I attribute largely to my Christian transformation. It is often the claim that Christianity has the power to transform the lives of black prisoners and ex-prisoners like me, to be able to overcome the many barriers to desistance. Nevertheless there are other Black Male Christian Ex-prisoners (BMCEP's) who made a commitment to the Christian faith who were unable to overcome the barriers to desist. This study acknowledged that BMCEP's contend with additional barriers to desistance based on race and the need to contend with institutionalised racist structures. The focus of this investigation is not how the Black Church can attempt to change these structures to accommodate the desistance of BMCEP's but how the Black Church can facilitate black empowerment and the self-determination of BMCEP's to enable them to desist. There is a limited body of literature on the subject of black male desistance and to my knowledge, none that demonstrates how Christianity can specifically reduce re-offending for black men. Nevertheless there is a substantial body of literature investigating whether Christianity reduces re-offending rates or improves desistance generally, however the studies that were able to establish Christianity made a positive impact on desistance did so only for particular categories of 'criminals'. Additionally, those studies that were able to demonstrate that Christian programmes delivered positive desistance outcomes were unable to explain what elements of Christianity impacted the prisoners or ex-prisoners and in what ways they specifically influenced the mind, emotions and behaviour of prisoners and ex-prisoners. I believe this lack of understanding of the therapeutic impact of Christianity on the desistance of prisoners and ex-prisoners in general inhibits the advancement of knowledge in this field. This leaves BMCEP's further marginalised based on their additional racialised barriers to desistance. This study initiates the development of knowledge and resources for the Black Church to support BMCEP's better and builds the therapeutic bridge between desistance and Christian theology for BMCEP's. This investigation was rooted in my personal experience of incarceration, my Christian conversion in prison, my journey of desistance, my experience as a criminal justice professional for over fifteen years and a minister in the church. The study focused particularly on the theology of black liberation because my Christian faith that, began whilst incarcerated, and my past experience as a member of the Nation of Islam relates to this particular theological position. For instance the gospel message of Jesus the liberator, connects with my journey as an oppressed black man, an exprisoner who has been set free, physically and Spiritually, someone who has been forgiven, reconciled to God, embraces suffering as part of the journey of faith and maintains the notion of black empowerment. Whilst this auto-ethnographic study allowed me to bring my experience and knowledge to this study, eleven other BMCEP's and four Black Male Ex-Prisoners (BMEP's) were interviewed for the purpose of comparison and critical analysis. This research found that many of the factors that were identified as desistance strengths also had the potential for impacting BMCEP's desistance negatively. These included resilience, motivation, autonomy, Christian identity, black identity, masculine expressions and even the Christian faith. This investigation explored the factors that might make them either desistance opponents or strengths. The study considered ways to identify or assess how these factors could be influencing the BMCEP, so that 'countermeasures' could be applied to support them by their church. Factors that were clearly opposed to desistance such as various forms of trauma, shame, and the engagement of negative defence mechanisms and coping strategies to deal with distress were also explored. I presented ways that the impact of these factors on the BMCEP could be identified by the Black Church so that measures to reduce the damage they might cause could be applied. The study concluded with fourteen recommendations in the form of guidelines for the church and resources that could be developed to support BMCEP's desistance, thus improving the therapeutic bridge between the practice of Christian theology and desistance for black men.
Supervisor: Joyce, Paul Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.789279  DOI: Not available
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