Faith-based Funding Challenge

A lawsuit tax payers' money was used to fund The Firm Foundation because its program proselytized to inmates, pressured them to take part in prayer, and hired only Christians as employees.

Court/Assoc.: U.S. District Court, Scranton

Attorneys/Firms: Alexander Bennett, Alicia Truman, Bruce Kelly, Daniel Kuhn, David Bergman, Elizabeth Leise, Kathy Ladun, Lea Johnston, Murray Garnick (Arnold & Porter LLP); Mary Catherine Roper, Paula Knudsen, Witold Walczak (ACLU-PA); Richard Katskee, Alex Luchenitser (Americans United for Separation of Church and State)

In 2005, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the national law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP brought a legal action on behalf of five Bradford County taxpayers against Bradford County and other governmental agencies for funding The Firm Foundation, a religiously based rehabilitation program at the Bradford County jail.

The lawsuit charged that federal, state, and Bradford County violated the Constitution by using tax payers' money to fund The Firm Foundation because its program proselytized to inmates, pressured them to take part in prayer, and hired only Christians as employees. The situation in Bradford County was brought to public attention by the Bradford County Alliance for Democracy, a local citizens' group.

In a settlement agreement filed on April 3, 2007, with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Bradford County agreed that all of its future contracts will bar an array of unconstitutional activities involving government support of religion.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Press release: Bradford County Settles Lawsuit Challenging Faith-Based Inmate Rehabilitation Program 4/3/2007

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