Research conducted by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency has uncovered an abundant variety of religious responses to incarceration. First, religious participation can help an inmate overcome the depression, guilt, and self-contempt that so often accompanies the prison sentence. Second, inmates may seek a way to avoid the constant threats faced in prison. In many ways, the prisoner's desire for religion is not very different from that of the free-world citizen in that he or she seeks religion to make life more livable.
Every year between 800,000 and one million American college students are victims of ethnoviolence. These incidents take the form of racist slurs and posters, racial harassment, and alleged racial intimidation; anti-Semitic remarks, graffiti, and posters; and harassment and threatening statements toward lesbians and gays. However, free speech issues have often overwhelmed the problem of ethnoviolence on our college and university campuses. In formulating policy, university administrators and legal counsel are now considering free speech issues as much, if not more, than the race conflict issue itself. The problem is that focusing exclusively on First Amendment concerns reflects not minority concerns, but the prejudicial priorities of some members of the dominant social order. Our universities as well as our culture must confront the dilemma presented by the extent to which free speech or racial conflict should be given priority.
The juvenile justice system is beset by major societal forces and does not lack for critics. Several paths are available to guide the future of the juvenile justice system. One direction would amplify the current expansion of punishment and of "holding youth and families more accountable for their misdeeds." An alternative approach entails rediscovering the historic mission of juvenile justice to provide individualized and compassionate care for delinquent youths. The punitive direction fits with current political rhetoric about "getting tough" with criminals. The doubling of the prison population and the large growth in juvenile incarceration are products of the "hard line" approach. Paradoxically, the urge to punish has not matched with public support to raise taxes to pay for a more vengeful justice system. Consequently, conditions of confinement are worsening, challenging basic American values about cruel and unusual punishment