Percentage of atheists in federal prison is even lower than we had thought.

I’ll start off by saying that Hemant Mehta is the straight up shit.  Why do I say that on this occasion?

For starters, the “atheists are 0.2% of the prison population” statistic is unreliable.  Even though it gets used everywhere, Hemant caught wise:

The 0.2% number has also been cited in book after book after book — including Victor Stenger‘s New York Times bestseller — and op-ed pieces, all referencing the exact same data.

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.

And back it up he did.  Hemant filed a Freedom of Information request with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and they provided the information.  Hemant has the full breakdown over at his site, but the short story is that the percentage of self-identified atheists in the federal prison system is 0.07%.

This is peculiar if atheists are the ones running around stealing, killing, and otherwise pillaging.

Enormous salute to Hemant for putting in the effort to secure this information.  Someone get that man a trophy.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.