New York Inmates Win the Right to Watch Eclipse

Department of Corrections says it will allow prisoners who sued to view the cosmic event
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2024 12:00 AM CDT
Updated Apr 5, 2024 5:03 AM CDT
New York Inmates Will Get to Watch Eclipse
FILE - The moon covers the sun during a total solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in Cerulean, Ky.   (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

The inmates at a New York prison who sued for the right to watch Monday's solar eclipse will get to observe the historic event after all. Lawyers for the six inmates at Woodbourne Correctional Facility who filed a lawsuit on religious grounds now say the state's Department of Corrections will allow the prisoners to view the eclipse. The suit has been withdrawn in light of the agreement, NBC News reports. As the New York Post reported earlier this week, the Woodbourne facility is not in the path of totality for the eclipse, but a partial eclipse will still be viewable. New York state ordered all the prisons in its system locked down during the event, as well as ordering no visitors at the prisons that are in the path of totality.

"We are pleased that, in response to our lawsuit alleging religious discrimination, New York State has entered into a binding settlement agreement that will allow our six clients to view the solar eclipse in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs," the lawyers said in a statement. The lawsuit cited the importance of periods of darkness in religious texts, such as an eclipse when Muhammad's son died, or the darkness during Jesus Christ's crucifixion. (More solar eclipse stories.)

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