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Women Prisoner's Hunger Strike in Texas

Women Prisoner's Hunger Strike In Texas

By Ana Lucia Gelabert

Gatesville, Texas, November 28, 1990. At 12 midnight tonight at least eight women prisoners at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Mountain View unit will begin an indefinite hunger strike in protest of the scheduled December 6, 1990, execution of Texas prisoner Betty Beets: the first woman to be executed in Texas in several decades. Letters on the intent and reasons for the hunger strike have been sent to the Governor of Texas, prison authorities and the press.

Activists here smell a rat by way of a possible deal between lame duck governor Bill Clements, a Republican, who has vowed to execute a woman before leaving office and newly elected governor Ann Richards, a Democrat, in such a way that Clements carries the blame for such an unpopular ad without tarnishing Richards image as a liberal so early in her governorship.

Although the striking prisoners emphasize that the hunger strike is in no way a work stoppage, but a peaceful protest, prison authorities appear in a frenzy and increasing retaliatory actions against the strikers as they fear the hunger strike might spread out quickly and end up in a series of work stoppages throughout the Texas prison system.

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