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Completed Lawsuits:

VICTORY: American Humanist Association and Jason Michael Holden v. United States of America, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Correctional Institution Sheridan Oregon, et al.

This lawsuit was filed against the United States Bureau of Prisons in 2014 on behalf of an inmate in Oregon. The case resulted in the federal government recognizing Humanism as a faith group and allowing humanist meetings in federal prison facilities across the nation through a settlement that directly followed the court’s ruling in the AHA’s favor. 

After a U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon judge refused to dismiss the case in 2014, declaring that Humanists must be accorded equal treatment, the Bureau of Prisons agreed to recognize Humanism and accord its adherents the same benefits enjoyed by inmates of other faiths, including time and space for Humanist meetings and special time to celebrate Darwin Day.


Selected Case Documents:

District Court (Case No. 3:14-cv-00565):

Complaint (filed April 8, 2014)

Court’s Denial of Motion to Dismiss (issued October 30, 2014)

Settlement Agreement (reached July 2015)

Selected Media:

Senior Counsel Monica Miller’s appearance on Fox News to debate the decision (July 29, 2015).

The Washington Post, “Federal prisons agree inmates can be ‘humanists’” by  Kimberly Winston (July 28, 2015)


The Huffington Post, “Federal Prisons Will Now Recognize Humanism As A Religion” by Kimberly Winston (July 28, 2015)

Fox News, “US Bureau of Prisons agrees to recognize humanism as a religious preference” by Associated Press (July 27, 2015)

Press Releases:

JULY 27, 2015

American Humanist Association Secures Equal Rights for Humanist Inmates in Federal Prison

AHA settles its lawsuit with the Bureau of Prisons.

APRIL 8, 2014

AHA Sues for Equal Treatment of Humanist Inmates in Federal Prisons

Prisoner denied permission to form humanist study group in Oregon.

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