Tennessee officials settle for $81k in inmate program suit

Friday, December 1, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 48

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee officials are settling a lawsuit for almost $81,000 over claims that an inmate coaching program was improperly religious.

WSMV-TV reports that the Tennessee Rehabilitative Initiative in Correction, or TRICOR, has settled the federal lawsuit.

Employee Joseph Baker's lawsuit claims he had to teach religious principles to inmates in a program based on the motivational book "This Ain't No Practice Life," which references God and the Creator.

TRICOR's attorney had argued in court that the program didn't contain religious messaging.

Gayle Jordan, a plaintiff's attorney who consulted in the case, said the government was endorsing a religion.

TRICOR has said a new program approved by the state attorney general's office won't refer to the book.

Baker receives almost $46,000 and his attorney gets up to $35,000 in the settlement.