A California prisoner, Barry A. Hazle Jr., 40, is challenging a condition of his release from prison after a year on drug possession: mandatory drug treatment. It is not the drug treatment idea that bothers Hazle, it is the religiosity of the program. Hazle is an atheist and would like a program that does not require his commitment to both sobriety and God.
The computer technician has repeatedly objected to the 12-step program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. He wants to be clean. He just doesn’t want to be saved.
He may have a point. It is not clear how the state can compel such participation – anymore than it can compel regular church going. The state may have an obligation to find non-religious alternative.