Atheist jailed for parole violation wins settlement over religious objections

10/15/2014 // West Palm Beach, Florida, US // JusticeNewsFlash // Justice News Flash // (press release)

California – An atheist who objected to being placed in a faith-based drug treatment program as a condition of his parole has been awarded a settlement. As reported by The Huffington Post, Barry A. Hazle Jr., who served time for a drug conviction in 2007 filed a lawsuit alleging he was not given an option to seek treatment at a facility other than a faith-based program.

According to Hazle, participants in the program at Westcare were told they must acknowledge a “higher power.”

Hazle is quoted in the report as stating to Searchlight of the case, “I’m thrilled to finally have this case settled… It sends a clear message to people in a position of authority, like my parole agent, for example, that they not mandate religious programming for their parolees, and for anyone else, for that matter.”

In accordance with the settlement, the state of California will pay $1 million to Hazle and $925,000 will be paid to Westcare.

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