annals of heartlessness, law

Annals of Heartlessness (8): Last Meals Too Expensive

scene from Mark Stern's LAST MEAL

scene from Mark Stern's LAST MEAL

(source)

A former Texas inmate who cooked the final meals for hundreds of condemned prisoners on death row has offered to resume the practice at no cost to the state now that officials have disallowed last requests.

Brian Price, author of Meals to Die For, a cookbook about his former duties, now runs a restaurant in east Texas. He said the move by prison officials was “cold-hearted”. “I am offering to prepare, and/or pay for, all of the last meal requests from this day forward,” he said. “Taxpayers will be out of nothing.”

Officials who oversee the US’s busiest death chamber stopped providing special final meals last week after a state senator complained about an extensive request from a man being executed for his role in a notorious hate crime.

The prison agency decided condemned prisoners would instead get the same dinner other inmates. (source)

I’m sure this is going solve the United States’ fiscal problem overnight. While they’re at it, why not force people to buy their own poison as well? I’m sure that’s even more expensive than food. That said, I never quite understood the reasoning behind this whole last meal business. They get a last meal, but not a last fuck, or a last visit to the opera. What’s so important about food? Perhaps food is a symbol of everything that pleasurable in life, and we want to make people feel even worse about dying. No, I guess not. Rather than making the executed feel worse we want to make the executioners feel better and more humane.

UPDATE: It seems that nothing is as popular as a bad idea:

[O]fficials stopped serving lunch on the weekends in some prisons as a way to cut food-service costs. About 23,000 inmates in 36 prisons are eating two meals a day on Saturdays and Sundays instead of three. A meal the system calls brunch is usually served between 5 and 7 a.m., followed by dinner between 4 and 6:30 p.m.

The meal reductions are part of an effort to trim $2.8 million in food-related expenses from the 2011 fiscal year budget of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the state prison agency. Other cuts the agency has made to its food service include replacing carton milk with powdered milk and using sliced bread instead of hamburger and hot dog buns.

State Senator John Whitmire, a Democrat and chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee whose outrage over last meals on death row led to the end of the practice last month, said the reductions were not a major concern to him. “If they don’t like the menu,” he said, “don’t come there in the first place.” (source)

More on capital punishment here. More in the annals of heartlessness here.

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2 thoughts on “Annals of Heartlessness (8): Last Meals Too Expensive

  1. Pingback: Annals of Heartlessness (59): Last Meal Too Expensive, Part 2 | P.a.p.-Blog // Human Rights Etc.

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