Prisoners are pretending to find God to get freed on parole and MP has warned
Convicts who claim to have become Christians should have their religious faith monitored on release to ensure they have not played the system, David Nuttall has suggested.
Mr Nuttall (Bury North) asked Dame Caroline Spelman, the Church of England's representative in the Commons, what steps the Church is taking to ensure its prison chaplains are not being hoodwinked by devious criminals.
He said: “Can you explain what measures are in place to monitor prisoners' commitment to the Christian faith after their release from prison?
David Nuttall MP believes prisoners should have their faith monitored on release
“It is sometimes suggested prisoners only start attending church services in the belief and hope that it will help them gain parole.
“If prisoners know at least that their continued adherence to the Christian faith is being monitored, they might at least think twice before trying to take advantage of the genuine support offered by prison chaplains.“
Dame Caroline said chaplains are adept at spotting criminals who are stringing them along.
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She said: “Prison chaplains are highly experienced and they welcome all those who show an interest in matters of faith.
“But they have become reasonably expert at spotting those for whom, perhaps, it is a means to a short-term end.
“But I think the important thing to remember is the primary aim is not to check ex-offenders, there is a statutory process for that not a church process, but to encourage whatever degree of personal faith, however small or doubtful, (which) may possibly provide a resource to help that offender go straight."