Additional information on religion in United States prisons
The religious affiliation of inmates in the United States, the country with most prisoners per head globally, is reasonably similar to the religious affiliations of the society overall. That said, the proportion of non-religious inmates and those declining to express their religious affiliation is smaller than the overall proportion. In contrast the number of Muslim inmates is disproportionately large in comparison with wider society. As a result a sizable share of prison chaplains identity as Muslim, catering to the preferences of the Muslim prison population.
Following the September 11, 2001 World Trade Centre attacks and the subsequent War on Terror launched by George W. Bush, religious extremism has been a target of public debate and policy. The debate has stretched into prisons particularly with the United States prison on Guantanamo Bay holding a number of suspected terrorists related to religious extremism. In turn, fears have been raised that prisons have become a hotbed for religious extremism.
Critics have argued that religious extremism has provided an unwarranted justification for the conviction of Muslims. Regardless of the supposed reason for their imprisonment, this disproportionate number presents a problem for United States policy makers.