"Writ Writer" portrays the historic conflict that emerged in the 1960s when Texas prisoners, inspired by the Civil Rights movement, challenged inhumane prison conditions. Long before the Ruiz v. Estelle lawsuit was filed, inmate Fred Arispe Cruz waged the legal battle that would be key to successful prisoner litigation in the 1970s and '80s. Prison officials retaliated by subjecting Cruz to months of solitary confinement and other punishments in an attempt to coerce him to drop his lawsuits. This attracted the attention of civil rights attorneys Frances Jalet and William Bennett Turner who came to assist Cruz.
The film, described by national news magazine The Week as "a brutal, revealing look at the Texas prison system as well as an inspiring portrait of human endurance," was broadcast on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens last summer.
Austin-based documentary filmmaker Susanne Mason will host a Q&A at 3:00 p.m., following the screening, joined by special guests Steve Martin, Texas attorney and prison consultant, and Jorge Antonio Renaud, former inmate and author.
Friday, February 27, 2009
"Writ Writer" documentary screened at capitol today
An email from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition reminds me to re-promote an event at the Texas state capitol today sponsored by state Rep. Elliot Naishtat: A screening of the film "Writ Writer" at 2 pm this afternoon (Capitol Extension Auditorium, Room E1.004), a documentary which aired last year on PBS: