An atheist in California has been awarded almost $2 million after authorities forced him to undergo drug treatment in a religious program.
Barry Hazle Jr., 46, argued that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ordered him to attend a religious rehab center after one year spent in prison for drug charges. The treatment suggested turning one’s fate to a “higher power” and encouraged prayer.
Hazle was eventually returned to prison for being "disruptive, though in a congenial way, to the staff as well as other students ... sort of passive-aggressive," in the program.
According to The Christian Post, Hazle will now receive the settlement for his “physical and emotional symptoms and injuries,” as well as to cover court costs spanning six years the lawsuit states.
"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,” Hazle said.
Publication date: October 16, 2014