New York Inmates File Lawsuit After Prisons Order Lockdown During Solar Eclipse

Inmates in a New York prison have filed a lawsuit after the state’s Department of Corrections announced that a lockdown that would prevent them from watching the total solar eclipse next week.

New York State Corrections Department issued a lockdown for all inmates on April 8th during the total solar eclipse.

The plaintiffs are six men from various religious backgrounds who are incarcerated at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Woodbourne.

USA Today reports: The celestial phenomenon, which has not passed over New York since 1925 and will not be seen again in the state until 2079, “is a significant religious event for people of many different faith backgrounds,” according to the complaint, which was filed Friday in federal court in upstate New York.

However, New York corrections officials put a lockdown in place at its facilities for April 8, the day the eclipse will pass over a long stretch of North America, including New York, as the moon blots out the sun. Among them is the Woodbourne Correctional Facility, the prison in Woodbourne where six men of varying religious faiths jointly sued the corrections department over the policy.

The plaintiffs – a Baptist, a Muslim, a Seventh-Day Adventist, two practitioners of Santeria and an atheist – are asking a judge to order the corrections department to immediately rescind the lockdown memo and provide eclipse glasses to all inmates who wish to view the eclipse, as it did when a partial eclipse was visible in 2017 in New York.