Dr. Byron R. Johnson. Director, Institute for Studies of Religion Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences Baylor University
Byron Johnson is Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University. He is the founding director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR). He is a Faculty Scholar in the Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health at Duke University, Senior Fellow with the Witherspoon Institute (Princeton), Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute (Indianapolis), and is a Senior Advisor at the Religious Freedom Institute (Washington, DC). Before joining the faculty at Baylor University, Johnson directed research centers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Johnson is a former member of the Coordinating Council for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Presidential Appointment). He has been the principal investigator on grants from private foundations as well as the Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, and the United States Institute for Peace. He is the author of more than 200 journal articles, monographs, or books. He is recognized as a leading authority on the scientific study of religion, the efficacy of faith-based organizations, and criminal justice. Recent publications have examined the impact of faith-based programs on offender treatment, drug addiction, recidivism reduction and prisoner reentry and is the subject of his book, More God, Less Crime (2011). Johnson also directs the Program on Prosocial Behavior, which examines the ways in which religion impacts key behaviors like volunteerism, generosity, and purpose. These topics are covered in his two most recent books, The Angola Prison Seminary (2016), which evaluates the influence of a Bible College and inmate-led congregations on prisoners serving life sentences; and The Quest for Purpose (2017), which examines the link between religion and finding purpose and meaning, and the subsequent link to academic integrity. He is working with the Gallup Organization to design empirical studies exploring religion and spirituality in the world. Johnson was the 2013 Lone Star Big Brother of the year for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Texas.