The Federal Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit has ruled that InnerChange’s Freedom Initiative should not be allowed to accept government funds to support their rehabilitation program in prisons. InnerChange’s doctrine is based on Christian values, which promotes that one can change their life through “the power of the Gospel.” The court found the program violated the First Amendment because “the indoctrination and definition criteria had the effect of advancing or endorsing religion.”
This is seen as a significant loss for government funded faith based programs and a victory for separation of church and state advocacy organizations like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which brought the suit against InnerChange. InnerChange is still offering the program in prisons but only through privately collected funds.
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