The conclusion of the study which prompted the article was that since there are so few atheists and agnostics in prison, they must live the most moral lives, shunning any criminal acts. The clincher quote is this:
In "The New Criminology", Max D. Schlapp and Edward E. Smith say that two generations of statisticians found that the ratio of convicts without religious training is about 1/10 of 1%. W. T. Root, professor of psychology at the Univ. of Pittsburgh, examined 1,916 prisoners and said "Indifference to religion, due to thought, strengthens character," adding that Unitarians, Agnostics, Atheists and Free-Thinkers are absent from penitentiariers or nearly so.
I think what was disregarded is that when a person is faced with a dead end, when he/she is at the lowest part of the gutter, they only place to look is up. There is an extraordinary number of prisoners who finally meet Jesus. There are also numerous people in the U.S. who profess Jesus but truly do not possess Him.
Another fact that was disregarded, or rather twisted, is that religion does not equal Christianity. I was born a Baptist, but didn't actually meet Jesus and take Him into my heart until I was six years old. Others go to church regularly but never have asked Jesus into their hearts. They are content to set on pews never hatching anything.
It is an erroneous conclusion to some interesting facts.