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Inmates challenge NY eclipse lockdown on April 8

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  • Staff Report 

In New York, a group of inmates at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility has filed a lawsuit against the state’s corrections department, arguing that a planned lockdown during the upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8 infringes on their religious rights.

The legal action, initiated on Friday in a federal court, is propelled by six men of diverse faiths, including a Baptist, a Muslim, a Seventh-Day Adventist, two followers of Santeria, and an atheist, all contesting the restriction on their participation in the celestial event’s observance, which they deem significantly spiritual.

The department’s decision, aiming to align prison operations with a holiday schedule during the eclipse, will confine inmates to their quarters, thus barring them from the outdoor observation of the eclipse. This move has sparked controversy, given the eclipse’s rarity and its profound spiritual importance for many.

Although the corrections department does not typically comment on ongoing lawsuits, it has indicated that requests for religious accommodations related to the eclipse are under consideration. Meanwhile, communities across western and northern New York are gearing up for optimal viewing of this astronomical phenomenon, which will not grace the U.S. skies again until 2044.