California to pay atheist parolee $1.95 million

AP News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2014 12:36 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California government will pay $1.95 million to an atheist and former parolee who went back to prison after refusing to participate in a religiously tinged inpatient treatment program.

The Record Searchlight reports (http://bit.ly/1o9NaPg ) Barry Hazle Jr. of Redding and his attorney announced the settlement Tuesday in San Francisco.

A federal court ruled last year that forced participation in a religious program had violated Hazle's constitutional rights.

The 46-year-old Hazle served a year in prison on a drug charge and after being released in 2007 was ordered to take part in a rehab program.

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His parole agent arrested him on parole violation after he refused to participate in the program. After serving three more months, Hazle sued the state corrections department.

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Information from the Record Searchlight, http://redding.com