Shasta County man settles civil rights claim for $2 million

Oct 14, 2014 1:54 PM by News Staff

An atheist Shasta County man has been awarded nearly $2 million after he was jailed for refusing to attend a court ordered religious drug treatment program.

Following a prison term, California ordered Barry Hazle Jr. to spend 90 days in a residential 12-step program. Hazle said he was atheist and asked for a secular program instead. But state officials told him they had none to offer. He sued for violation of his First Amendment rights.

The settlement announced Tuesday comes after a six-year court battle with State Parole officials and contractor Westcare California Inc.

Under the settlement, Hazle will dismiss his civil rights claims in return for $1 million from the state and $925,000 on behalf of Westcare.


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