Houston State Senator John Whitmire, who wields great influence on prison issues, says he wants to do away with granting last meal requests for inmates about to be executed.
The over-the-top meal of Lawrence Brewer, executed last night for the dragging death of James Byrd, was the last straw. Whitmire wrote to the executive director of the Texas Criminal Justice Division that he had long opposed the practice, and "enough is enough."
For TDCJ to allow inmate Brewer to order...two chicken fried steaks, a triple meat bacon cheeseburger, a cheese omelet, a large bowl of fried okra, three fajitas, a pint of Blue Bell ice cream and a pound of barbecue with half a loaf of white bread is ridiculous.
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"I am asking you to end this practice immediately or I am prepared to do so by statute next session," he wrote.
Whitmire said the last meal request is an "extremely inappropriate" privilege, "one which the perpetrator did not provide to their victim."
UPDATED: And TDCJ caves. A statement from Executive Director Brad Livingston:
I believe Senator Whitmire's concerns regarding the practice of allowing death row offenders to choose their last meal are valid. Effective immediately, no such accommodations will be made. They will receive the same meal served to other offenders on the unit.