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Jackson v. Crawford

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division

September 26, 2016

RANDALL JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
LARRY CRAWFORD, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr. United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court are (1) Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 129); (2) State Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 130); (3) Motion for Summary Judgment on Behalf of Defendants Gateway Foundation, Inc. and Duane Cummins (Doc. No. 132); and (4) Plaintiff's Motion to Supplement the Court Record (Doc. No. 148). As an initial matter, plaintiff's unopposed motion to supplement the record with complete transcripts of six depositions will be GRANTED. The Court turns to the merits of the motions for summary judgment.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff filed the pending action on January 6, 2012. On April 9, 2012, the Court dismissed plaintiff's pro se complaint. On appeal, on March 28, 2014, the Eighth Circuit vacated the Court's order dismissing this case, and remanded for further consideration. Counsel entered an appearance on behalf of plaintiff on June 27, 2014. On August 15, 2014, plaintiff filed his First Amended Class Action Complaint (Doc. No. 42), alleging that defendants violated his rights as an atheist by requiring him to participated in substance abuse treatment programs at the MDOC such as Alcoholics Anonymous (“AA”), which requires its participants to recognize and rely upon a “Higher Power” to remedy their problems with alcohol. Plaintiff has also sought to list his religion as atheism on the facesheet to his prison file, but MDOC has denied this request, responding that atheism is a philosophy, not a religion.

         Plaintiff makes claims on behalf of himself and a putative class under both (1) 42 U.S.C. § 1983, through the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; and (2) the Religious Land Use Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1. For both, plaintiff claims that his and the putative class members' rights were violated by (1) not being allowed to declare atheism as their religion on their inmate facesheets; and (2) being forced to participate in substance abuse treatment programs that are based on a belief in a deity. On February 6, 2015, the Court entered an Order granting the state defendants' motion to dismiss as to (a) claims against the state defendants in their official capacities for monetary damages, (b) claims against the state defendants in their individual capacities under RLUIPA, and (c) claims related to actions taken in 2006 as barred by the statute of limitations. See Order, Doc. No. 83. In the same Order, the Court dismissed all claims against defendant Salsbury. Id. On May 8, 2015, the Court entered an Order denying plaintiff's motion for class certification; however, the Court indicated that if the plaintiff was able to develop evidence during discovery supporting numerosity, the Court may reconsider its position on that issue. See Order. Doc. No. 96. On June 23, 2015, the Court denied Gateway and Cummins' motion to dismiss. See Order, Doc. No. 106.

         Remaining defendants in this matter are (1) George Lombardi, Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections (“MDOC”); (2) Douglas A. Worsham, the Supervisor of Religious/Spiritual Programming within the Division of Human Services for the MDOC; (3) Larry Crawford, the Director of the MDOC when plaintiff was incarcerated at MDOC's Western Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center (“WRDCC”) in St. Joseph, Missouri; (4) Martha V. Nolin, the Assistant Division Director, Substance Abuse Services in the Division of Offender Rehabilitative Services; (5) Alan Earls, Deputy Director of the Division of Adult Institutions; (6) Cyndi Prudden, Deputy Director, Division of Adult Institutions; (7) Isaac “Sonny” Collins, Warden at Maryville Treatment Center (these seven defendants, collectively, are “state defendants”); (8) Gateway Foundation, Inc., also known as Gateway Foundations Correction, an Illinois corporation that has contracted with MDOC to design and operate MDOC's drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs; and (9) Dwayne Cummins, Gateway Foundation Corrections' Program Director at MDOC's Ozark Correctional Center (“OCC”). All except for Gateway Foundation, Inc., and Dwayne Cummins (who are not state employees or entities) are sued in their individual and official capacities.

         II. Facts[1]

         A. Face Sheet Claim

         MDOC Inmate face sheets and intake forms include a religious preference which is used for a variety of administrative tasks, including accommodating prisoners of different religious faiths; examples of accommodations could include attendance at religious gatherings within a prison, religious dietary restrictions, or end of life needs. The face sheet may reflect one of dozens of possible selections offered to inmates; while Jackson was incarcerated a nonreligious person had possible selections of “no religious preference” and “unknown.” After plaintiff's incarceration, MDOC officials added the option of “other” to the religious preference selections that can be reflected on the face sheet.

         The Religious Programming Advisory Council, selected under the leadership of defendant Worsham, approved the following “religions” or “spiritualities” for accommodation: Buddhism; Christian - Roman Catholic; Christian - General; Nation of Islam; Judaism; Messianic; Al-Islam/Muslim; Moorish Science Temple of America; Native American Spirituality; Wicca; Asatru/Odinism; Christian Separatist Church Society; Ethical Culture/Society; Sufism; Hare Krishna; Rastafarian Spirituality; Satanism; and Vedanta Society. Certain of these religions receive full group accommodation in the prison system; others are approved only for “solitary” practice.

         On August 1, 2007, while a prisoner at Potosi Correctional Center, Jackson wrote the Records Department requesting that his Face Sheet reflect the fact that he was an atheist. See Doc. No. 129, Ex. 19 at MDOC 6480. On August 20, 2007, the Records Department informed Jackson that the “Chaplain states that Atheism is not one of the States [sic] recognized religions, ” that “‘No Religious Preference' is the most accurate choice” for him “from the list, ” and that his request to have his Face Sheet reflect the fact that he is an atheist was denied. Doc. No. 129, Ex. 19 at MDOC 6475-76. On August 23, 2007, Jackson filed a formal grievance, again requesting that he be permitted to select atheism as his religion. On October 26, 2007, the prison superintendent denied Jackson's grievance, stating that the Department “does not list Atheist as a religious preference. You are currently listed as ‘No Religious Preference' which most accurately reflects your choice.” Doc. No. 129, Ex. 19 at MDOC 6474. On December 4, 2007, Jackson appealed the denial of his grievance. On March 25, 2008, defendant Worsham wrote to the Department's Central Office providing his ruling on Jackson's appeal. He wrote: “The categories for religious declaration involve only MDOC accommodated religions. Atheism is not commonly defined by atheists as a religion but rather a doctrine or philosophy.” Doc. No. 129, Ex. 19 at MDOC 6482. Later that day, Jackson's grievance appeal was denied, using the same language Worsham used in his letter. Doc. No. 129, Ex. 19 at MDOC 6469 (“Be advised that the categories for religious declaration involve only MDOC accommodated religions. Atheism is not commonly defined by atheists as a religion but rather a doctrine or philosophy.”).

         On or before September 30, 2011, Jackson wrote a letter to Worsham, requesting that atheism be recognized as his religious preference and explaining why he believed he had the right to have the Department recognize atheism as his religion. On November 7, 2011, Worsham rejected Jackson's request to have atheism recognized as a religious preference, stating: “I share your interest in accuracy and proper selection relative to personal religious choices. On the other hand, since Atheism is a philosophy rather than a religion, such would not be accurate as a religious declaration. Your current declaration of ‘No Preference' is accurate in that you prefer none of those religions/spiritualities which are listed. Therefore your request would be denied.” Doc. No. 129, Ex. 1 at 85.

         On or about November 22, 2011, Jackson filed an Informal Resolution Request (“IRR”) seeking to have atheism recognized as a religion and reflected on his Face Sheet. On December 21, 2011, Jackson's informal resolution request was denied because “Atheism is a philosophy, not a religion.” Doc. No. 129, Ex. 19 at MDOC 6464. On January 4, 2012, Jackson filed a grievance. On or about February 17. 2012, the warden denied Jackson's grievance, stating: “atheism in not recognized as a religion by the department. This should resolve your grievance.” Doc. No. 129, Ex. 19 at MDOC 6463. On March 5, 2012, Jackson filed a grievance appeal. On April 9, 2012, Jackson's appeal was denied, using the language earlier provided by Worsham: “Be advised that the categories for religious declaration involve only MDOC accommodated religions. Atheism is not commonly defined by atheists as a religion but rather a doctrine or philosophy.” Doc. No. 129, Ex. 19 at MDOC 6461, 6482.

         Plaintiff testified that, as an atheist, he has never attended meetings of atheists, before, during, or after his time in prison. Plaintiff also has no specific rituals, no special days of observance, no food restrictions, and no written texts integral to his practice of atheism or his belief as an atheist. Plaintiff testified he does not consider his atheism a religion but rather a “belief.”

         B. Treatment Claims

         1. AA and The Big Book

         It is undisputed that AA and the Big Book (the Alcoholics Anonymous text) contain spiritual concepts. The commonly known Twelve Steps of AA are: (1) We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable; (2) Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity; (3) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him; (4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves; (5) Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs; (6) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character; (7) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings; (8) Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all; (9) Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others; (10) Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it; (11) Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out; and (12) Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. See ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS 59-60. Plaintiff, however, notes that some of the highest ranking substance abuse professionals at MDOC and Gateway do not believe the fundamental beliefs of AA and other 12-Step programs are true: They do not believe that alcoholics are incapable, through their own desires and will power, to control their substance abuse; they do not believe that alcoholics must believe in God or any other “Higher Power” to control their substance abuse. See Doc. No. 129, Cummins depo. at 85:17-86:5 (Ex. C); Nolin depo. at 32:10-13, 67:11-17 (Ex. D).

         At all times while plaintiff was incarcerated, MDOC required prisoners in substance abuse programs to participate in at least two hours per week of what is referred to as “self-help” or “support” meetings to graduate from the program with a recommendation to be released on parole. To satisfy the “self-help” or “support” requirement, prisoners are permitted to attend meetings of Christian groups called “Celebrate Recovery” and “Institute of Self-Worth.” Department regulations require that all prison treatment facilities “provide other therapeutic activities as an alternative to the alcoholics anonymous/narcotics anonymous meetings.” MDOC policy was for staff and contractors to present reasonable alternatives wherever the program incorporates ideations of God and/or higher power. Plaintiff argues that the MDOC and Gateway did not tell prisoners about secular options, however, unless prisoners complained about AA and religious options.

         2. Plaintiff's Treatment

         a. Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (“WRDCC”)[2]

         On September 29, 2005, Jackson was sentenced to four years in prison as a DWI persistent offender, and stipulated to participate in the Missouri's Offenders Under Treatment Program, RSMo § 217.364. The Offenders Under Treatment Program is a 180-day program designed to rehabilitate non-violent offenders whose convictions are drug or alcohol-related, so that they can effectively manage their drug and/or alcohol problems and return to society as law-obeying citizens. Plaintiff asserts that MDOC's Parole Board routinely approves the application for early parole is a prisoner successfully completes the Offenders Under Treatment Program.

         Plaintiff arrived at WRDCC in July 2006. Plaintiff argues that when objected to being required to attend and participate in daily prayer sessions as part of the therapeutic community, Program Director Salsbury and other staff advised that he did not actually have to believe in God, he needed only to “act as if, ” which was a phrase used in the program to mean taking on “a role or attitude even if you don't feel like it” - a “tool used to assist one in ‘trying on' new patterns of thought and behavior.” At that time, plaintiff argues that KCCC staff suggested that Jackson use the word ‘God' as an acronym for “good orderly direction” and to think of “Higher Power” as “what it was that he used to give him direction.” Plaintiff states that he informed MDOC of his concerns, and requested he be placed in a program that was not religiously oriented. On August 29, 2006, Jackson voluntarily withdrew from the program on the ground that its required activities conflicted with his sincere religious convictions. On October 6, 2006, Jackson filed an Offender Grievance, stating that he was an Atheist and requesting that he be offered a nonreligious substance abuse treatment program. On November 22, 2006, Jackson's grievance was denied.

         On March 8, 2007, the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole denied Jackson his time credit release consideration, stating: “Because you have not completed a Board stipulated treatment program, the Board is denying your credit release date. Your previously scheduled release date will remain in effect.” Jackson was conditionally released from prison on January 20, 2008.

         b. Ozark Correctional Center (“OCC”)

         On December 2, 2010, Jackson was sentenced as a chronic DWI offender and received a seven-year sentence, with an Order that he complete the Long Term Substance Abuse Treatment program (LTTP) for early release. Plaintiff testified that if he completed the program, he could be released in two years. Under Jackson's plea agreement, the Circuit Court of St. Louis County ordered Jackson “to participate in and successfully complete: Long Term Treatment Program for offenders with serious substance abuse addictions as screened and approved by the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole, ” pursuant to § 217.362 RSMo.

         Plaintiff arrived at OCC to begin his treatment under the LTTP on March 8, 2011. MDOC contracted out the operation of the substance abuse program at OCC to Gateway. The substance abuse program at OCC required Gateway to provide treatment to approximately 650 prisoners. Gateway received no funds from the federal government; instead, it was paid by the Missouri Department of Corrections. Plaintiff indicates that when he arrived at OCC, he received a copy of The Big Book. Plaintiff reported that the trailers where classes occurred at OCC had the AA 12-Steps and prayers posted on the walls, and the study area has the Serenity Prayer painted on the wall. The OCC Prisoner Handbook informed prisoners that they were required to attend at least 2 “self-help” groups per week to graduate from the program. Alternatives to the 12-step program were not discussed in the handbooks.

         On March 8, 2011, the same day he arrived at OCC, Jackson sent a “line of communication” to his counselor, Mr. Gillum, requesting a meeting to discuss the requirement to attend AA meetings and carry The Big Book. Jackson was the only prisoner then at OCC to complain about its policies regarding carrying The Big Book and 12-Step meetings. Plaintiff states he attended AA meetings until he was given permission not to do so on March 15, 2011. On March 16, 2011, plaintiff met with Robert Johnson, the Clinical Director for Gateway Foundation at OCC, who told plaintiff that he would no longer have to carry The Big Book or attend 12-Step meetings. At this meeting, Johnson told plaintiff that OCC did not require a belief in a higher power, adherence to the 12-step program, or attendance at religious based meetings or any type of prayer. Plaintiff told Johnson that he had previous experience with treatment in MDOC, and doubted that OCC's treatment program would comply with his constitutional rights and that he intended to file suit regarding his treatment at WRDCC. After the March 16 meeting, Johnson performed research to find a secular self-help treatment program that plaintiff could initiate at OCC, and that was suitable for plaintiff's specific needs, and identified the Smart Recovery plan. Jackson's initial treatment plan was required by contract to be prepared no later than March 18; but no treatment plan was in place by that time.

         Plaintiff argues that even after he had been excused from attended the “self-help” 12-Step meetings, he was required to and attended the Program's non-self-help courses, where the focus and assignments were very often taken directly from The Big Book (defendants however, reiterated that plaintiff has admitted he was excused from AA classes and meetings and excused from AA assignments). Plaintiff argues that after he was excused from the AA requirements, he was treated with resentment and hostility, and argues that prisoners were encouraged to punish him for his nonconformance. Plaintiff further argues that after he objected to assignments from The Big Book, he was given longer and more difficult assignments; defendants, however, dispute this.

         On March 22, 2011, an entry was made in plaintiff's treatment notes by Robert Johnson, stating: “Received information from the Deputy Warden that Mr. Jackson is spending considerable time in the library working on his legal case. Phase I members do not have access to the library as a Phase I privilege unless a pending legal matter is imminent. According to classification staff, Mr. Jackson does not have an imminent legal case pending.” On March 25, 2011, Johnson received the Smart Recovery materials he had ordered for Jackson to use, and began working on a treatment plan for Jackson. On April 8, Johnson met with Jackson and presented his treatment program to plaintiff. The April 8 Treatment Plan identified two “self-defeating behavior/problem[s] that block [Jackson's] success:” (1) “client has a history of alcohol use which has led to numerous arrests and incarceration yet questions the need for treatment;” and (2) “client feels that traditional treatment/recovery programs that rely on higher power are ineffectual for him.” Johnson testified, however, that he was trying to state that the AA based treatment plaintiff had experienced in the past did not work due to plaintiff's atheism beliefs, and as a result, a treatment plan was designed that was not based on the traditional AA steps. The Treatment Plan included numerous assignments and target dates for completion. Jackson's action plan included: “In lieu of attending AA/NA designated support groups. write four pages each week on one of the right living concepts in the handbook using materials provided. Study the ‘Smart Recovery' program. Develop a plan to implement meetings. And start new meetings.” To satisfy MDOC's self-help requirement, Jackson was told he needed to organize and facilitate a Smart Recovery group by June 8, 2011. Plaintiff indicates he requested a staff member help organize and facilitate the program, but argues that Gateway staff refused to help Jackson develop, organize or facilitate a Smart Recovery self-help program. The Gateway defendants, however, argue that plaintiff chose not to use Smart Recovery because he did not think the program would be available to him in the community once he was released from prison.

         Gateway employee Janelle Murphy was plaintiff's primary counselor during his treatment at OCC, and she handled plaintiff's case following the April 8 meeting. Plaintiff alleges that on April 28, 2011, he was put in the “Encounter Circle, ” where he was told that atheism was getting in the way of the program. Plaintiff also argues that he was not given permission to view Smart Recovery DVDs; however, Janelle Murphy testified that plaintiff had plenty of opportunity to see the videos and plaintiff was resisting the Smart Recovery program.

         On May 13, plaintiff indicates he met with defendant Cummins to discuss his progress. Also on May 13, in her weekly summary, Murphy writes: “Client is still expressing resistance to the AA and NA concepts of the program. Client reports he does not believe in religion.” Plaintiff requested Gateway staff confirm that the Parole Board would accept Smart Recovery for purpose of early release and that when prisoners were released on parole or probation, they could continue to use Smart Recovery rather than attend AA or NA meetings; plaintiff argues that staff never looked into or answered his questions. Plaintiff also testified that, rather than give him assignments based on a genuinely secular substance abuse approach, Johnson, Murphy and other counselors made plaintiff read religious materials and write reports explaining why he objects to the 12-Steps, how he was being a baby for not participating in 12-Step meetings, how his refusal to participate in 12-Step groups was a “self-defeating behavior, ” and even to read an essay -- to other prisoners following the 12-Steps - explaining why he objects to AA and the 12-Steps. Defendants dispute this.

         On May 31, 2011 Jackson filed an IRR objecting to the dominance of religion in his treatment program and asserting it violates his First Amendment rights. Jackson did not organize and start facilitating a Smart Recovery self-help group by the June 8 deadline in his Treatment Plan. On June 9, Jackson was given a “Behavior Contract, ” which he Dated: June 10. The June 10 Behavior Contract required, among other things, that he “defend why he is different and unique, higher and more privileged than others in treatment, and since he has these special needs, the rules do not apply to him.” Defendants note, however, that one of the reasons stated for the Behavior Contract was that plaintiff was not turning in his assignments; therefore, defendants argue that being “different and unique” did not refer to plaintiff's atheism, but rather his failure to do work. On June 16, 2011, Johnson denied Jackson's informal resolution request, stating: “A belief in a supreme being, or higher power, is not required to successfully complete the treatment program.” On June 21, 2011, Johnson wrote an email to several of the highest MDOC and Gateway officials overseeing the OCC program, indicating “I fully expect him to pursue legal action. We are not going to satisfy Mr. Jackson regardless of the steps we take to accommodate his needs. … he intends to pursue his grievance beyond the local level. He is likely to also pursue redress through the court system.” Johnson depo. at 82:16-87:4; Doc. No. 129, Ex. 4H at MDOC 6603.

         On June 28, Gateway required plaintiff to sign a second Behavior Contract. See Doc. No. 129, Ex. 4B at 6666-69. Among the items assigned to Jackson to study to correct his criminal thinking was an essay called “King Baby.” Doc. No. 129, Ex. 4B at MDOC 6666-68 (“Client will read ‘King Baby' and discuss with his sponsor how he has been displaying ‘King Baby' syndrome and will submit a reflection paper on this discussion to include sponsors [sic] comments.”). Plaintiff argues that the thesis of the “King Baby” essay is that people who do not turn their lives over to God are infantile, and the only treatment option for alcoholics is to turn control of their lives over to God. Plaintiff read the essay and complained; thereafter, he was not required to complete the written assignment related to King Baby. Notably, defendant Cummins had previously removed “King Baby” from the bookshelves at OCC because he believed it was inappropriate for any prisoner; therefore, plaintiff argues that Gateway staff members purposely sought out and obtained copies of “King Baby” that they gave to plaintiff. When he was alerted to the fact that Jackson was assigned to read and write a report on “King Baby”, Johnson notified the Cummins, the Program Director, saying: “You won't believe this.” Cummins depo. at 116:2-17.

         On July 8, 2011 Jackson filed an Inmate Grievance, wherein he requested to be transferred to another treatment program that is free of religious requirements. On July 15, 2011, Program Director Cummins signed a letter denying Jackson's grievance, claiming Gateway had no authority to transfer him to another treatment center. Ed Davis, the warden at OCC, signed the letter on July 19, 2011. On July 20, Cathy Farr, Jackson's primary counselor, and Jill Newman, the counselor supervisor, referred Jackson to the Program Review Committee for termination. Doc. No. 129, Ex. 4B at MDOC 6622-23. Among the reasons they offered was that Jackson's “attitude and behaviors regarding his religious beliefs have caused on-going strife in both wings he has been assigned to. … According to numerous and recurring peer reports he continues to attempt to ‘recruit' people to his atheistic views and to an alleged lawsuit he is filing in which he claims violation of his constitutional rights. This has lead [sic] to peer conflicts including heated arguments & verbal intimidation. [H]e has attempted to have his roommate stop reading his Bible in his room as it ‘offends him', this incident & many others like it has caused chaos in 2D and lead [sic] to him being encountered last night.” Doc. No, 129, Ex. 4B at MDOC 6622. On August 2, 2011, Jackson was discharged from treatment. One of the reasons given for the discharge was the plaintiff “did not successfully complete his treatment plan due to lack of effort, not turning in assignments or not turning them in on time, not showing up for groups, classes or community service on time or at all.” Ex. 10 to Gateway Defendants' motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff denies that these reasons are true, but admitted at deposition that he occasionally failed to turn in assignments or turned them in late, and that he failed to show up for groups, classes, or community services on occasion.

         On July 28, 2011 Jackson filed an Offender Grievance Appeal. On or about August 15, 2011, Marta V. Nolin, Assistant Division Director, Substance Abuse Services in the Division of Offender Rehabilitative Services, denied Jackson's Grievance Appeal, stating: “I see nothing to indicate that your constitutional rights were violated.” Doc. No. 129, Ex. 4J at MDOC 6543. On November 1, 2012, Jackson filed an IRR, again requesting to be placed in a program that does not incorporate AA or other “Higher Power” treatment principles; the IRR was denied on November 7, 2012. On November 20, 2012, Jackson filed an Offender Grievance requesting a non-religious substance abuse program, which was denied on November 26, 2012, by Tipton Correctional Center Warden Douglas Prudden, who stated that issues of probation and parole “are non-grievable issues.” On December 14, 2012, Jackson filed an Offender Grievance Appeal, which was denied by Alan Earls, Deputy Director, Division of Adult Institutions, on February 5, 2013. Because Jackson did not complete the OCC program, he was not eligible early release and instead, plaintiff argues he served three years longer in prison than he otherwise might have.

         c. Maryville Treatment Center (“MTC”)

         Plaintiff was transferred to MTC on May 30, 2013. Plaintiff testified that on the walls of the rooms and hallways at MTC are prayers, quotes from the Big Book, and other religious information. Plaintiff testified that the morning meetings at MTC included prayer. Plaintiff states he met with MTC staff and explained his religious objections to AA/NA and other spiritual recovery programs. They said he could use the “Sober But Stuck” program, which they told him is not a religious program. Doc. No. 129 Ex. 1 at 289-90. However, as noted by defendants, plaintiff testified he refused to sign up for treatment at MTC and never started treatment. Plaintiff depo. at 170:14-19. Plaintiff argues that the only programs offered at MTC were either explicitly Christian programs or 12-Step programs. See Plaintiff depo. at 166:15-167:4 (“you see AA, NA, Sober But Stuck and Celebrate Recovery. … All four of those are NA, AA or NA/AA based.”); Id. at 173:2-23 (“I went to at least one Sober But Stuck meeting, and that's when I read the book, and the book is totally based on AA.”).

         On June 24, 2013, Jackson filed an IRR requesting he be sent to a secular treatment program. Gateway terminated Jackson from the MTC Program the very next day -- June 25, 2013 -- for not participating in the treatment program (for refusal to sign into the treatment program). Jackson's IRR requesting a secular program was denied on July 8, 2013. The denial states: ...


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