The Woodbourne Correctional Facility is a medium security men's prison in Sullivan County, which first opened in 1935. Today the prison, which is run by the New York State Department of Corrections, houses around 981 inmates in 500 cells, according to the NY State History Society.

*** Update: LoHud is reporting that New York State Correctional will allow the six men to view the eclipse. Attorneys say the settlement will allow the inmates "to view the solar eclipse in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs". ***

However, sources say several inmates are now suing the state corrections department for a rather unusual reason. Some could say their motivations are spiritual in nature.

Inmates at Woodbourne Correctional Sue State Over Faith?  

NPR is reporting that six inmates at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in the hamlet of Woodbourne are suing the New York State Corrections Department because they're not allowed to view April 8th's total solar eclipse.

NBC had reported that the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision announced plans to cancel visitations at 23 facilities in the path of totality during Monday's event. Prison sites directly in the path of totality will be closed all day, while facilities not directly in the path will end visits by 2 PM, says the department.

See Also: When Was New York State's Last Execution?

That means that inmates will have to remain in their housing units except for emergency situations from 2 to 5 PM Monday afternoon at facilities such as Woodbourne.

The lawsuit claims that the lockdown "violates inmates' constitutional rights to practice their faiths by preventing them from taking part in a religiously significant event."


According to NPR, the six plaintiffs include a Baptist, a Muslim, a Seventh-Day Adventist and two practitioners of Santeria, and an atheist. The suit reads that the solar eclipse "warrant(s) gathering, celebration, worship, and prayer".

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Acting commissioner, Daniel Martuscello III, says the department plans to distribute eclipse safety glasses for staff and inmates at prisons so they can view the eclipse from their assigned work location or housing units.

The reasons for the religious direction of the complaint? According to NPR, the suit points to passages in The Bible, that describe "an eclipse-like phenomenon during Jesus' crucifixion", while sacred Islamic works describe a similar event when the Prophet Muhammad's son died.

See Also: Groups Sue New York State's Largest Landfill to Prevent It From Growing Bigger

Updated Eclipse Times Across New York State

Top officials gave us the updated eclipse times in parts of New York State that will enjoy a total solar eclipse on April 8.

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