Try our corporate solution for free!
(212) 419-8286

Religious affiliation of inmates in U.S. prisons, 2011

This statistic shows U.S. prison chaplains estimations of the percentage of inmates belonging to different organized faiths and religions as of 2011. Chaplains surveyed reported that on average 50.6 percent of inmates were of protestant faiths.

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.

Mean religious affiliation of inmates in U.S. prisons, as reported by prison chaplains in 2011

Exclusive Premium statistic

You need a Single Account for unlimited access.

  • Full access to 1m statistics

  • Incl. source references

  • Available to download in PNG, PDF, XLS format

Single Account

$39 $59 per month *
in the first 12 months
33% Discount until November 30th
*Duration: 12 months, billed annually, single license

Access to this and all other statistics on 80,000 topics from

$468 / Year
$708 / Year

Show detailed source information?
Register for free
Already a member?
Log in

Release date

March 2012


United States

Survey time period

September 21, 2011 to December 23, 2011

Number of respondents

730 respondents

Age group

8-19 years

Special properties

Prison chaplains

Method of interview


Supplementary notes

* Includes followers of the Nation of Islam and the Moorish Science Temple of America.
** The question listed the following examples: "Baha'is, Rastafarians, practicioners of Santeria, Sikhs and others."
Original question: Thinking of all the inmates in the prison(s) where you work, approximately what percentage of them identify with the following religious groups?

Statista Accounts: Access All Statistics. Starting from $468 / Year
Basic Account
Get to know the platform

You only have access to basic statistics.
This statistic is not included in your account.

Single Account
The ideal entry-level account for individual users
  • Instant access to 1m statistics
  • Download in XLS, PDF & PNG format
  • Detailed references
$59 $39 / Month *
in the first 12 months
Corporate Account
Full access

Corporate solution including all features.

* Prices do not include sales tax.

Statistics on "Prisoners in the United States"

Statista Accounts: Access All Statistics. Starting from $468 / Year
Learn more about how Statista can support your business.