Skip to comments.Texas to pull last-meal information from death row Web site
Posted on 12/12/2003 7:23:42 AM PST by stainlessbanner
DALLAS - (KRT) - In the end -- the very end -- it comes down to a matter of taste.
After years of posting the last meals of condemned inmates for public perusal, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has deleted that information from its Web site.
The elimination of the popular page was part of a redesign to be launched this week, said department spokeswoman Michelle Lyons, but the decision to remove the information was also partly in response to objections.
"We had gotten some complaints from people who thought it was in poor taste," Lyons said.
The decision by the department's "executive administration" makes life difficult for Lyons, who fields media requests, because questions about prisoners' last meals are common. "The reason we had it on the Web site to begin with was because that was the No. 1 inquiry from the public," she said. "So really, we can't win."
The questions will still be answered, because the information is a matter of public record, Lyons said. It just won't be as readily available.
The public is so fascinated by the topic that books have been written on the subject. In fact, a former Texas inmate who served time for sexual assault and kidnapping in the 1990s prepared many inmates' last meals while working at a Huntsville unit and is now writing a cookbook, Lyons said.
"The inmates who prepare the last meals really do their best, because they know the importance of it," she said. "They know this is the last meal this person is ever going to eat and they do keep that in mind, and try very hard to match the request as closely as possible."
Cheeseburgers are the most requested last meal, followed closely by fried chicken and breakfast foods such as eggs and sausage. Occasionally, a prisoner will ask for something unusual, such as a jar of pickles or a bag of Jolly Rancher candy.
The selections are supposed to be limited to typical kitchen supplies, Lyons said, but if an inmate requests a bag of candy not on hand, Lyons said, some "good-hearted prison employee" may provide it.
Three executions are scheduled for this week, with inmates requesting items such as steak, eggs and ice cream. One inmate also asked for "a cheap cigar and a match," Lyons said. "The cheap cigar is not going to happen because we have a no-tobacco policy."
Other states, such as California and Arizona, still post information on last meals.
"We've never had any complaints," said Terry Thornton of the California Department of Corrections.
"Actually, there are some people who wonder why this state even gives an inmate a last meal," Thornton added. "I've heard complaints about that - not the fact that we post it on our Web site."
Heaven forbid! that we have the bad taste to be interested in this murderer's last meal.
In fact, I'm in favor of doing away with the "last meal request" altogether. Why give these killers any satisfaction? I think Perry Austin's last meal should be treated with the lack of emphasis as the last meal of little David Kazmous. No pomp and circumstance.
Here, eat your supper; now get executed for your crime.
End of discussion.
I agree with you that executions should be public and televised, but for a different reason. Let the execution be a warning to those potential criminals that the same end could befall them too. Let the public see that justice WILL be served.
At last! Someone who agrees with me.
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