A one-day hunger strike by about 45 prisoners in the maximum security section of the Arlington jail ended yesterday after negotiations resulted in a key compromise: jail official will permit inmates to watch the televised NBA playoff game Friday night.
The brief strike began Tuesday after Sheriff J. Elwood Clements ordered a two-week suspension of a long-standing policy allowing late night television privileges on weekends. Clements said he made his decision after a fight broke out last weekend between two inmates over which TV show they should watch.
"Everything is negotiable except who's going to run this jail," Clements said yesterday, "so for two weeks we were going back to the old policy of locking inmates in their cells at 11 rather than letting them stay in the day room and watch TV until 2:30 on weekends."
After two-thirds of the 70 maximum security prisoners began the hunger strike-the first in recent years-officials agreed to meet with prisoners' representatives. Several prisoners said yesterday that they assured officials the strike would end if they were allowed to watch Friday night's game, which begins at 11:30.
With that exception, the 11 o'clock rule remains in effect for two weeks.
"This was punitive discipline against the masses for the actions of a few," said inmate Theodore Ford yesterday. "It's very boring in here because there's nothing to do. TV's all we got and that game is important."