Skip to Main Content

Press Release for Friday, October 28, 2016

UNF Criminology Professor Discusses ‘The Inmate Church at Angola Prison’

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director
Department of Public Relations
(904) 620-2102

 Dr. Michael Hallett, criminology professor at the University of North Florida, will discuss “The Inmate Church at Angola Prison” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Lufrano Gallery, located in the Student Union, Building 58E, on the second floor. A reception takes place at 5 p.m. Both are free and open to the public.

Hallett, who worked with a team of researchers anchored out of Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, was lead author of the study and new book “The Angola Prison Seminary: Effects of Faith-Based Ministry on Identity Transformation, Desistance and Rehabilitation.”

The three-year study of America’s largest maximum-security prison, Louisiana State Penitentiary (aka “Angola”), explores the rehabilitative power of religious faith in America’s toughest prison. Angola is the only prison in America that allows inmates to run their own churches.

“This research shows what happens when faith is allowed to play a role, even inside Americas toughest prison,” said Hallett. “The book narratively and empirically documents the powerful impact of faith and its surprising implications.”

Cellblock and dormitory units are still called “camps” at Angola, a remnant of the traditional assignment of slaves to “work camps” across various locations of the property, a former slave plantation. The property became known as “Angola” because this region of Africa supplied its slaves, and the name stuck.

Today, Angola remains a point of no return for most souls condemned to its grounds; 90 percent of its inmates never leave the prison alive. As a prison serving the jurisdiction with the world’s highest incarceration rate, Angola represents more than a superficial revisitation of the connection between America’s legacy of racial inequality and “the new Jim Crow.”

This lecture is sponsored by the UNF Intercultural Center for PEACE. For more information about this event, contact the Center at (904) 620-2475.

To find out more about his new book, “The Angola Prison Seminary: Effects of Faith-Based Ministry on Identity Transformation, Desistance and Rehabilitation,” visit

The Intercultural Center for PEACE at UNF promotes student learning, development, and support through purposeful programming with different cultural groups and departments on campus. The Center strives to bridge the cultural divide between all individuals at the University as well as the local community to enhance multicultural sensitivity and strengthen cultural competence.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.