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William Wayne Justice Papers

Prison Reform: Ruiz v. Estelle (continued)

A 1986 proposal by then-Governor Mark White to house 300 prisoners in Fort Wolters National Guard barracks for 6 months to diminish overcrowding without releasing prisoners was rejected by Judge Justice due to failure to meet TDC requirements for educational and recreation facilities. Denunciations against the judge’s decision came from around the state.

Judge Justice, Special Master Vincent Nathan, and others involved in the case toured TDC prisons, Beto I and Eastham, in March of 1987.

Tour of TDC facility, W.W. Justice and othersIn 1987, in response to Judge Justice’s rulings addressing conditions in Texas prisons, Texas State Representative Sam Johnson launched “Citizens for the Resignation of William Wayne Justice.”  Johnson was elected to Congress in 1991.

Judge Justice, then-Governor William Clements, Attorney General Jim Mattox, and other pivotal figures in the lawsuit met in Judge Justice’s chambers in April 1988.Judge Justice’s role as judge precluded him from speaking on Ruiz in this meeting; however the two parties participated in negotiations on a settlement.

W.W. Justice, Attny. Gen. Mattox, and Gov. Clements, 1988

The parties submitted a proposed Final Judgment in August 1992.

Throughout the litigation, letters from the public decrying the Judge’s mandated changes to Texas prisons arrived at Judge Justice’s chambers.

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