How many atheists are in the U.S. federal prison system?
Is the percentage of atheists in prison more or less than what we’d find in the general population?
And are any of those numbers actually meaningful?
Two years ago, I set out to explore those questions. I found that self-described atheists made up an astonishingly-low 0.07% of the prison population, far less than anyone expected. (Though that percentage came with several caveats.)
I wanted to know if those numbers had changed at all since 2013, so earlier this summer, I filed another FOIA request with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. This time, I didn’t just ask for the religious demographics of all prisoners; I also requested a state-by-state breakdown. The information arrived earlier this week (broken down by individual prisons instead of states). You can see the raw data here along with a spreadsheet I created.
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