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6 inmates who sued New York over its prison lockdown order will get to see solar eclipse after all

NEW YORK — Six inmates who sued New York’s corrections department over its decision to lock down prisons during next Monday’s total solar eclipse will get to watch the celestial event after all.

NEW YORK — Six inmates who sued New York’s corrections department over its decision to lock down prisons during next Monday’s total solar eclipse will get to watch the celestial event after all.

Lawyers for the six men in prison at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in upstate New York stated Thursday that they’ve reached an agreement with the state allowing the men to watch the solar eclipse “in line with their deeply held religious beliefs.”

They took legal action last week claiming the April 8 lockdown violates inmates’ constitutional rights to practice their religions by denying them participation in a religiously important occasion. The six men include a Baptist, a Muslim, a Seventh-Day Adventist, two followers of Santeria, and an atheist.

Thomas Mailey, a spokesperson for the corrections department, said the department has agreed to allow the six individuals to watch the eclipse, while plaintiffs have agreed to drop their suit with prejudice.

“The lawsuit came to an appropriate resolution,” he added in an emailed statement,

The department previously stated that it considers all requests for religious allowances and that those regarding viewing the eclipse were currently under review.

Daniel Martuscello III, the department’s acting commissioner, issued a memo last month directing all incarcerated individuals to stay in their housing units next Monday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., which are typically the regular hours for outdoor recreational activities in prisons.

He said the department will provide solar eclipse protective glasses for staff and inmates at prisons in the path of totality so they can see the eclipse from their assigned work location or housing units.

Communities in western and northern areas of the state are expected to have the best view of the time when the moon moves between the Earth and the sun, temporarily covering the sun.

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