Back to RJ Archive

A Pilot Study of a Faith-Based Restorative Justice Intervention for Christian and Non-Christian Offenders

Marilyn Peterson Armour, John
June 4, 2015

Source: (2008) Journal of Psychology and Christianity. 27(2):159-167

As prison populations continue to rise, faith-based and restorative justice programs show promise in
influencing offenders’ internal motivations and external behaviors. Using a one-group, pretest-posttest
design, this pilot study found significant change in offenders’ (n=102) moral motivations (empathy, perspective
taking, forgiveness, proneness to forgive, daily spiritual experiences, and relationships with others)
after their self-selected participation in a 14-week faith-based program that draws from the principles
of restorative justice. Hierarchical regression models were used to examine the impact of reported subscription
to Christianity on pretests and score changes. At pre-test, Christian participants (n = 66) were
more likely to forgive than non-Christian participants (n = 33) who conversely were more likely to see the
perspectives of others, Christian offenders had significantly higher change scores on perspective taking
and empathic concern than non-Christian participants. Findings have implications for the use of faithbased
programs and victim-centered curriculums to change offenders’ moral motivations and for matching
faith-based Christian programs with Christian participants.


AbstractCourtsEvaluation/StudyPost-Conflict ReconciliationPrisonsReportRJ and the WorkplaceRJ in SchoolsRJ OfficeStatutes and LegislationTeachers and StudentsVictim Support
Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now