Prisoners Are Suing Jails Over Upcoming Solar Eclipse

Photo by Justin Dickey on Unsplash

( – In New York, inmates are filing a lawsuit against state prisons after it was decided that they would need to be locked down during the total solar eclipse on Monday. 

On Friday, the inmate filed the suit in federal court in upstate New York and argued that the lockdown on April 8 was in violation of their constitutional rights to practice their faiths. They claimed this lockdown was going to block them from participating in an event that was religiously significant. 

The plaintiffs in this case are six men who come from a number of different religious backgrounds, including two Santeria practitioners, an atheist, a Seventh-Day Adventist, a Muslim, and a Baptist all of whom are incarcerated at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Woodbourne. 

In the complaint, they point out that solar eclipses are a rare natural phenomenon that holds a lot of importance in different religions. They note that an eclipse-like phenomenon had occurred during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, while in Islam it is described that a similar type of event had occurred upon the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s son. 

The last time that such an event had been visible in the United States had been in 2017, while the next one will take place in 2044. The complaint points out that due to this, this is a significant event that warrants “celebration, worship, and prayer.”

They further point out that last month one of the plaintiffs, an atheist, had also received special permission to view the eclipse using state-provided glasses, before the issuing of the lockdown. 

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