Incarcerated individuals in New York State are suing to be able to watch the solar eclipse. New York State Prisons will be under lockdown on Monday, April 8, 2024, the day of the total eclipse. Family, friends, attorneys, and other visitors will not be allowed.

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Six inmates at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility filed a challenge against the lockdown, according to Newsweek. The inmates, who are Christians, Muslims, and atheists, claim that the lockdown will violate their religious rights, arguing that the solar eclipse is "a religious event that they must witness and reflect on to observe their faiths."

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According to Hell Gate, one prisoner will be able to watch the eclipse after requesting special permission. Jeremy Zielinski said the eclipse is special to him because of his beliefs, or lack thereof,

"Zielinski argued that the eclipse has special significance to atheists like himself, whose beliefs are grounded in a devotion to scientific discovery and achievement."

His request was approved on March 5.

New York State Prisons Will Be Locked Down During Solar Eclipse

The NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has issued an announcement that 23 facilities will be closed to visitors on April 8. DOCCS Acting Commissioner Daniel Martuscello III issued a memo on March 11 saying that it would take a "proactive approach to ensure the safety of staff, visitors, and the incarcerated population, and to ensure the integrity of our facilities during this event." DOCCS plans to do that by locking down all incarcerated individuals, even those not in the path of the eclipse. The lockdown will take place before, during, and after the eclipse.

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On its Facebook page, DOCCS specified that prisoners at 23 facilities will not have visitation on April 8. All others will end visitation at 2 pm. Family Reunion Program units at prisons outside of the path of totality will be closed by noon. From 2 pm to 5 pm, all inmates will be locked in their housing units.

When Will The Total Solar Eclipse Happen?

Photo by Justin Dickey on Unsplash
Photo by Justin Dickey on Unsplash

The total solar eclipse will be visible over Buffalo this year, on April 8, 2024. If you miss it, the next total solar eclipse in North America won’t be until March 2033. And, to see it you'll have to be in western Alaska.

The total solar eclipse's path will be from Mexico starting around 11:07 a.m. PDT, into Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Once it has traveled through the United States, it will enter Canada into Southern Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.

If you're curious about what to expect, check out some pics from the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.

Scenes from the August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse

Gallery Credit: Getty Images

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