Prisoners in this country just won a lawsuit to let them watch a celestial event



Six inmates who sued New York state’s corrections department over its decision to lock down prisons during the total solar eclipse will get to watch the event after all.
Lawyers for the six men at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in upstate New York said on Thursday they had reached a settlement with the state that would allow the men to view the solar eclipse “in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs”.

They filed a federal suit last week arguing the 8 April lockdown violates inmates’ constitutional rights to practise their faiths by preventing them taking part in a religiously significant event.

The six men include a Baptist, a Muslim, a Seventh-Day Adventist, two practitioners of Santeria and an atheist.
A spokesman said the corrections department had agreed to permit the six individuals to view the eclipse on Monday, while plaintiffs had agreed to drop their suit with prejudice.

The department said this week that it took all requests for religious accommodations under consideration and those related to viewing the eclipse were under review.

Daniel Martuscello III, the department’s acting commissioner, issued a memo in March ordering all incarcerated individuals to remain in their housing units next Monday from 2pm to 5pm, which are the usual hours for outdoor recreation in prisons.

He said the department would distribute solar eclipse safety glasses for staff and inmates at prisons in the path of totality so they could view the eclipse from their assigned work location or housing units.



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