The Common Good
August 2004

Cure Worse than Cause?

by Rose Marie Berger, Brian Bolton | August 2004

Corrections Corporation of America,

Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private operator of prisons in the United States, has partnered with Institute in Basic Life Principles, an evangelical Christian ministry founded by Bill Gothard, to provide four- to six-month Christian rehabilitation programs aimed at reducing recidivism rates and inmate grievance reports. The optional prison program, according to the IBLP Web site, includes conflict management, relationship counseling, financial management, mentoring, scripture memorization and Bible study, and worship.

"We have concerns about this for several reasons," Don Veinot Jr., president of Midwest Christian Outreach Inc., told Sojourners. "[Bill Gothard's] teachings are not based on the Bible but rather are more akin to the teachings of behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner in their cause-and-effect relationship. It may result in better-behaved sinners, but [the programs] have not made any real changes in their adherents and have in fact resulted in numerous church and family splits. The cure was worse than the problem." Veinot is co-author of A Matter of Basic Principles, an in-depth critique of Gothard's ministry.

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