Texas Ends Special "Last Meals" for Death Row Inmates

If only it were as easy to end the death penalty as it was for Texas to end last meals for those about to be executed. Texas inmates who are set to be executed will no longer get their choice of last meals, after a prominent state senator voiced concern over a request from a man condemned for a notorious race killing. …It is extremely inappropriate to give a person sentenced to death such a privilege," Sen. John Whitmire, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, wrote in a letter to Brad Livingston, the executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Livingston agreed and with one fell swoop of his pen, ended the practice. [More…] The legal cost to Texas of a death penalty case from indictment through execution is about $3 million dollars. The average death row prisoner spends 10 years on death row, at a cost of $40,000 a year (compared to $20,000 a year to house a non-death row inmate.) Under Rick Perry's watch alone, Texas spent $700 million on capital punishment. This year, Texas will spend $15.5 million on the death penalty. And Texas wants to complain about the cost of a last meal to a condemned inmate that amounts to $70 or less? The real reason of course, is that Lawrence Russell Brewer ordered a huge last meal and didn't eat it. [State senator] Whitmire said he felt that the inmate had ordered it in an attempt to "make a mockery out of the process." And the inevitable eye for an eye: "He never gave his victim an opportunity for a last meal." Memo to Sen. Whitmire: An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

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