What percentage of prisoners are atheists?
This is an important question with serious implications. If the number is high, it lends support to the idea that atheists are immoral (***Edit***: I should’ve made clear that not all prisoners are in jail for immoral reasons, though that is certainly the stereotype). If the number is low, it might provide some proof that, indeed, atheists have their own moral compass that doesn’t involve a holy book.
For more than a decade, if you Googled this question, you were directed to one of two websites, both referring to the same information (though even that’s in dispute) given to a “Rod Swift” by Denise Golumbaski, a research analyst at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. According to them, atheists made up 0.2% of the prison population:
There were always a lot of problems with that information:
If the statistic is wrong, we must stop using it. But can we really confirm or deny this information?
Yes we can — and I finally have some definitive information to back it up.
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