This book explores the profound transformations that prisons and offender rehabilitation programmes in Eastern Germany have undergone with respect to religion. Drawing on participant observation and interviews of inmates, ex-prisoners, chaplains and prison visitors, this book connects the institutional to individual: focusing on the religious changes individuals experience when they are imprisoned and released. Including comparative studies from Italy and Switzerland, Becci reveals that despite diverse local, historical, deminational, political and social contexts the transformation patterns of individuals' relationship to religion, and their use of religious resources, are strongly shaped by the total character of prisons. Becci also explores the difficulties faced by released people in keeping their religious life alive under the harsh conditions of social stigma in a highly secular outside society.
Irene Becci studied sociology and anthropology in Switzerland, Italy and the USA. She started to work on religion in prison for her doctoral dissertation and shifted in her post-doctoral research the focus on religion after prison in Eastern Germany. Since 2012 she has held, as an assistant professor, the chair of Emerging Religions and New Spiritualities at the University of Lausanne (CH).