BILLINGS – A state prison inmate who filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against Yellowstone County, alleging jailers interfered with his satanic religious practices, has agreed to settle the case for $50.
Deputy County Attorney Kevin Gillen said the inmate, Jason P. Indreland of Billings, has accepted the county’s offer that includes the cash and a commitment to review how inmate requests are processed at the Yellowstone County jail.
Indreland filed the lawsuit in 2008 while he was in the jail on pending felony drug charges. He said staff took from him a religious medallion, denied him access to satanic literature and put him in maximum security because of his religious beliefs.
The lawsuit also claimed that jail staff placed Christian natured greeting cards under his cell door.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby ruled in January that the medallion was taken away because it was on a chain that jail staff said was too thick and could be used to choke someone. She also said there was no proof that Indreland received Christian cards from jail staff, and the inmate was placed in maximum security for fighting.
Indreland’s claim that he was illegally denied access to a satanic literature was the only issue remaining in the lawsuit, and the judge ordered the two sides to try to settle the case.
Gillen, who noted that it is sometimes less expensive to settle than to go to trial, said the county agreed to review jail inmate request procedures because the basis for denying Indreland’s request for satanic literature was not fully explained to him. The attorney said such literature is not allowed in prisons and jails across the country because it promotes violence.
Indreland is currently serving a three-year sentence at Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge for possession of methamphetamine.
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