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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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PROGRAM INFO

Title:
Prison Reform In Texas: An Interview With Writer David RuíZ, Charles Sullivan And Pauline Sullivan Of The Citizens United For The Rehabilitation Of Errants (CURE)
Program #
1981-40
Theme:
Politics

Series:
Social Issues
Host:
Linda Fregoso
Guests:
Charles Sullivan, David Ruíz, Pauline Sullivan
Date:
Aug 19, 1981

Prison Reform in Texas: an interview with writer David Ruíz, Charles Sullivan and Pauline Sullivan of the Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE)

Linda Fregoso speaks with David Ruiz, a former inmate, and Charles and Pauline Sullivan, prisoner advocates, about their efforts to improve prison conditions. Ruiz is one of many writ writers, self-educated prison lawyers, who have sought to defend the rights of prisoners. In the early 1970s, Ruiz filed several suits against the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) for excessive brutality and neglect, and Ruiz discusses some of the conditions he encountered while in prison. The Sullivans, who founded Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants, explain that one of the reasons why Texas has the lowest cost per inmate is because they use prisoners to police each other and to work in the infirmary. In fact, inmate/guards (or Building Tenders) have access to weapons and can often act with impunity, punishing inmates the guards have deemed troublesome. The TDC boasts that its prisons are largely self-sufficient: inmates grow their own food and produce their own clothing. However, Ruiz explains that inmates work without pay and often in hazardous conditions. Moreover, he argues, such programs do not prepare inmates for life outside of prisons.

The Sullivans then discuss Ruiz’ role in the law suit and explain that he has pursued the case at a great cost to himself. In 1981, Judge William Wayne Justice of Tyler, Texas found that Texas prison conditions were unconstitutional and ordered the TDC to make several major changes.

Both Ruiz and Pauline argue that there is a connection between unemployment and crime, and they demand that society address the roots of crime and the ways in which it rehabilitates criminals.

 

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