NEW YORK (AP) — Inmates in New York are suing the state corrections department over the decision to lock down prisons during next Monday’s total solar eclipse.

The suit filed Friday in federal court in upstate New York argues that the April 8 lockdown violates inmates’ constitutional rights to practice their faiths by preventing them from taking part in a religiously significant event.

The plaintiffs are six men with varying religious backgrounds who are incarcerated at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Woodbourne. They include a Baptist, a Muslim, a Seventh-Day Adventist and two practitioners of Santeria, as well as an atheist.

“A solar eclipse is a rare, natural phenomenon with great religious significance to many,” the complaint reads, noting that Bible passages describe an eclipse-like phenomenon during Jesus’ crucifixion while sacred Islamic works describes a similar event when the Prophet Muhammad’s son died.

read more: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/new-york-inmates-are-suing-to-watch-the-solar-eclipse-after-state-orders-prisons-locked-down

  • @[email protected]
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    19 days ago

    The religious lawsuit is kind of bullshit, in my opinion - but they’re right to take action over what is essentially overt, purposeless cruelty to deprive people the ability to look outside simply in order to punish them for acts they’re already being punished for.

    Maybe if you let prisoners appreciate nature and life outside and science a bit more they would have a bit more motive to stay on the safe side of the law in the future. Random punitive shit like this only causes resentment and recidivism, which is I’m sure what the legal system wants anyway.

    • @[email protected]
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      2619 days ago

      I more think it’s the optimal legal strategy to frame it this way, even though probably most of the plaintiffs aren’t necessarily thinking about it from a religious angle.

    • @[email protected]
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      1919 days ago

      It’s not bullshit if the court is religious. Especially if they frame it as wanting to see the eclipse to better appreciate the Jesus.

    • prole
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      19 days ago

      The religious lawsuit is kind of bullshit,

      Would it be bullshit if this were about Christian inmates being denied the ability to receive communion? Or if they were forcing Muslim or Jewish inmates to break halal and kosher respectively by making them eat certain things?

      Remind me what the First Amendment is about again?

      Also, quick google search found this SCOTUS case from 2005 that seems pretty cut and dry regarding this type of thing: https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna8047388

      Indulge me for a moment, and read the first paragraph of this article:

      The Supreme Court sided Tuesday with an unusual alliance of the Bush administration, liberal activists and conservative religious groups, agreeing that state prisons must accommodate the beliefs of witches, Satanists and other followers of non-mainstream religions.

      Can you imagine reading that amidst the Satanic Panic 2.0 we’ve been experiencing these past few years? LOL. They would completely ignore the implications that the case would have on their beliefs, knowing full well that the rules would continue to be applied selectively. That way they’re “hurting the right people.”

      Any conservatives who were of voting age back then: would love to see you actually reckon with this. I mean, you won’t, but it would be nice.

      The religious lawsuit is kind of bullshit,

      • @[email protected]
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        319 days ago

        … yeah man I don’t think it’s an unfair assessment to say that at least the 10 guys all of different religions getting together and saying they all have a vaguely stated religious need to see the solar eclipse aren’t at least kind of bullshitting.

        They’re still right to do it. But no dude, these are not a group of guys who legitimately feel watching the solar eclipse is vital to their religion lol. They’re a group of guys trying to scrap a bit of freedom and dignity in an oppressive environment.

        • prole
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          318 days ago

          The human experience is vast, and it’s presumptuous, naive, and arrogant to pretend to know the full extent of what other people believe.

            • prole
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              118 days ago

              Hopefully it’s not in Baltimore

                • prole
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                  18 days ago

                  Oh… Well I’ll pass. My background in engineering and construction tells me that it would be an awful investment due to liability and cost of maintenance/upkeep, especially given our crumbling infrastructure.

                  Thanks for the heads up though. Where do you even find a sale like that, Zillow?

        • prole
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          318 days ago

          Christian’s are actually respecting that there’s legal protections to nature worship, much less non indigenous nature worship

          Yeah highly doubt that…

          Keep in mind, that article is about events that occurred in 2005. To say a lot has changed since then would be a colossal understatement. Especially when we’re talking about the attitudes of the average Republican then vs. now.

  • @[email protected]
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    5419 days ago

    God it’s sad that inmates have to resort to arguing religious rights to fight for the right to look at the last eclipse they’ll likely see for the rest of their healthy lives.

  • @[email protected]
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    19 days ago

    ‘practitioners of Sataneria’ that’s a new one. Is that what the church of Satan followers are calling themselves?

    /edit… I don’t understand the downvotes. It was an honest question… My knowledge isn’t infinite.

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    -1119 days ago

    It’s the same reason they’re not allowed outside at night, when it’s dark, it’s lock down. It’s a security issue. Also, every prison I’ve been in (6+) has had windows on the cells that can see outside.

    • @[email protected]
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      819 days ago

      At least for these inmates, New York State already purchased glasses, and the issue actually is that the jails changed that Monday to a weekend schedule that forces them inside at the exact time it passes over, whereas the weekday schedule would have allowed them outside at the time. I don’t know if it is true but I’ve heard a few mentions that the switch was short staffing from many guards taking that day off mixed with general understaffing, and thats why such an abrupt switch came with a week left.

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    -4519 days ago

    Doesn’t make sense to lockdown the prison, but they shouldn’t be provided any of the equipment.

    • @[email protected]
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      19 days ago

      No, it makes sense if they are doing a lock down in order to prevent people from damaging their eyes (they probably arent). Provide equipment to view it safely is another matter. But to just outright say naw let them go fuck up their eyes, and definitely don’t provide glasses that way its more likely they fuck up their eyes is just cruel. Whats wrong with you man. Jesus would not be proud of you.

      • @[email protected]
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        -1519 days ago

        Why would you fund the prisoners viewing experience, prisons have a commisary let them buy them if they want the glasses. Other than that I hope grown adults can be trusted enough to not look directly at the sun but I have less faith in that every day.

        • @[email protected]
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          219 days ago

          I never said they should, i said thats a whole other mannermatter. I actually think forcing a lock down in order to prevent them from hurting themselves is the right decision. Its not about trusting adults to know better, there are people in prision who’ve been there for decades and are probably not privy to the type of random knowledge people are more accustomed too now adays. And i dont think they would listen if the warden or someone just let them know if they stared at up the sun it could damage their eyes.

          I also dont know how bad it truely is for your eyes, i learned about the danger when the last major eclipse happened years ago, but before then i was unaware. Inmates depend on tax payer money to provide health care and i dont think taking needless risks is something they should be doing.

          Best case scenario though, if an organization were to donate the darkening glasses where they can safely enjoy it that would benefit everyone.

          • @[email protected]
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            119 days ago

            They could also be taking a page (whether founded or not) from a mental ward in that they assume some inmates may try to purposely stare at the eclipse without protection. (i.e. They’re fearing self-harm)

            While I hope people wouldn’t try this, I have no idea what really goes on inside (morale and whatnot), and am only trying to thinking of what the prison will use as their rationale.