Extreme heat waves across the country have claimed hundreds of lives over the past few years, including at least 52 heat-related deaths between June 30 and July 6 alone. And prison inmates are especially at risk for succumbing to heat-related health issues, according to a federal court that has ruled in favor of an advocacy group that alleges Texas prison officials are violating prisoners’ constitutional rights with poor conditions during high-temperatures days.

Published in Current Events
Saturday, 15 October 2011 19:26

Texas ends 'last meals' for death row inmates

Guards and Guard Tower At Huntsville Unit Texas

Texas stopped serving so-called last meals to death row inmates this week after a state lawmaker complained about an inmate request he considered excessive.

The furor arose after Lawrence Brewer, 44, a convicted murderer and self-described white supremacist, requested a last meal that included: two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions; a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger; a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapeños; a bowl of fried okra with ketchup; one pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas; a meat-lover’s pizza; one pint of Blue Bell Ice Cream; a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts; and three root beers.

Brewer had been condemned to die for the 1998 dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in the East Texas town of Jasper; the slaying drew international attention and led to state and federal hate-crimes legislation.

Published in Current Events
Nacogdoches Counth Jail Inmates
Nacogdoches County Probation-Office
Nacogdoches county probation-officer
Over a quarter of Americans on probation are in Texas
Posted: Oct 04, 2011 6:53 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 04, 2011 7:05 PM EDT

Just hours ago the Nacogdoches County courthouse was busy with inmates making pleas before any indictment.

The "Jail Call" helped clear-out cells, but it adds to the case load of probation officers.

Half the jail was called to the courthouse. In all, about twenty inmates made the trip. Many pleaded guilty to their crimes, allowing them to get out of jail on probation.

"We have a wide range of sanctions that we use. Of course, with jail being the last one," said Probation Officer Ty McCarty.

In the initial meeting, probation officers tell new probationers the importance of not messing up. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against them.

"It's a little bit pessimistic I think for all of us when anyone goes on probation just because there is a pretty good likelihood that they're not going to successfully complete the probation," said Nacogdoches County District Attorney Nicole Lostracco.

Published in Current Events