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Why are faith-based ministries on the rise in prisons?

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Prison cell

Bill Radke speaks with Tanya Erzen, associate professor of religion and gender studies at the University of Puget Sound, about the rise of Christian faith-based ministry in prisons. 

In Washington state prisons, 85 percent of the faith-based ministries for inmates are Christian. That tracks with what's happening in prisons all over the country. 

And in many cases, if inmates want to be involved in anything that isn't daily prison life, their only option is Christian faith-based ministry. 

Erzen has been looking at why Christian prison ministries are on the rise and how those ministries became the only option for so many prisoners. 

Erzen's new book is called "God in Captivity: The Rise of Faith-Based Ministries in an Age of Mass Incarceration." It'll be released early next month. She is also giving free talks around the state about this as part of the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau.

Year started with KUOW: 1985 – 1986, 1991 – 2004, 2012