American Culture

Even killers deserve a last meal

by Pat Hosken

Last week, Texas prison officials decided, after executing 475 people since 1976, its death row prisoners no longer deserve a last meal. You’re already taking away their lives, Texas. Don’t take away their dignity, too.

State Senator John Whitmire said the decision has nothing to do with cost, despite a tight Texas budget. The soon-to-be executed don’t deserve a last meal because they didn’t give their victims a chance for one, either, Whitmire said.

Yes, these inmates have killed or at least have been convicted of killing. But don’t dehumanize them; don’t say they don’t deserve their final nutrition intake.

Whitmire claimed a last meal gives a death row prisoner a “celebrity” treatment. How many celebrities order a meal cooked in a prison kitchen and eat it in a cold, gray cell shortly before they’re going to die?

Recently executed Lawrence Russell Brewer ordered a lavish feast of steaks, a cheeseburger, an omelet, a pizza and more before his execution last month. Brewer received his meal, but didn’t eat it. Whitmire demanded an end to the entire practice because of one man’s actions.

Limit what prisoners can and can’t order before you kill them, Texas. Don’t take away their right to a steak. After all, you might as well make your inmates comfortable before you execute them.

At least let them eat well, one final time, before you take away their ability to eat any more.

Pat Hosken, a senior, is majoring in journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University.

1 reply »

  1. I’m ambivalent about the last meal, it makes little sense to feed someone who is going to die, and I suspect many who were about to die might not have much of an appetite.

    However, arguments over the ‘last meal’ are a distraction from something far more important: Abolition of the death penalty. Unless and until there is no possibility of a miscarriage of justice, the death penalty must be considered inhumane and incompatible with any criminal justice system.