FFRF Watches Prison Program

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, whose federal lawsuit last year halted plans by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to endow single-faith” prison programs in several federal penitentiaries, is watching Bureau developments.

The Foundation lawsuit, filed last May, prompted the Bureau to first suspend, then cancel its proposal. It had suggested that one penitentiary might run a Roman Catholic program, another a Southern Baptist. The lawsuit was put on hold last fall, when the Bureau canceled the unconstitutional plans, to await Bureau developments.

In late March, the Bureau invited proposals for a new pilot program for private operators to provide training to prisoners, including from a “faith-based or religious perspective.” If groups propose religious training they must also provide a secular alternative. Operators may also propose purely secular programming.

“We would still regard this as an endorsement of religion,” if faith programs are funded, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president, told media.

She pointed out that the Foundation must wait to see how the pilot program is awarded before resuming its lawsuit.

Freedom From Religion Foundation