Appeals Court Denies Religious Program Challenge

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JACKSON, Miss. – A federal appeals court has ruled that a former inmate at a privately run Mississippi prison had no constitutional right to be provided with Catholic-oriented television programming.
Raymond Gutierrez, a California inmate who had been housed at the Corrections Corporation of America prison in Tallahatchie County, Miss., had sued the prison management company in 2013. A federal judge in Oxford, Miss., threw out his lawsuit later that year.
Gutierrez, who has since been released from prison, argued in his appeal that the prison’s TV service provides access to Protestant networks but not Catholic programming. He argued the facility’s refusal to provide Catholic programming denied him equal protection rights.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Gutierrez failed to show the prison’s decision was discriminatory.

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