POLICIES OF LEADING EXECUTION STATES

Texas • Number executed since 1976: 387

Death row population: 387

Work program: No

Contact visits: No

Group recreation: No

Group religious services: No

Television: No

Virginia

Number executed since 1976: 98

Death row population: 19

Work program: No

Contact visits: Yes

Group recreation: No

Group religious services: No

Television: Yes

Oklahoma

Number executed since 1976: 84

Death row population: 84

Work program: No

Contact visits: No

Group recreation: Yes

Group religious services: Yes, but inmates not released from cells

Television: Yes

Missouri

Number executed since 1976: 66

Death row population: 48

Work program: Yes

Contact visits: No

Group recreation: Yes

Group religious services: No

Television: Yes

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that an inmate on death row is on a hunger strike over living conditions.

LIVINGSTON — Life on death row, says Roy Lee Pippin — condemned for killing two men in a Harris County narcotics murder — is a living hell.

And unless courts spare his life, Pippin says, he plans to go to his March 29 execution on an empty stomach. He's trying to draw attention to what he considers horrendous conditions at Texas' massive, ultra-maximum-security death row.

...

By early 2000, Ellis' aging death row was closed, its population relocated to what is now called the Polunsky Unit.

In their new home, inmates were confined to 60-square-foot cells — 20 square feet smaller than the enclosure recommended by the American Correctional Association — and subjected to a reduction in privileges. No longer were they allowed to engage in group recreation sessions or attend group religious services. Officials eliminated work programs, contending that Gurule and others used their time in Ellis' garment factory to plan their escape. At Polunksy, inmates no longer could watch television, although a Dallas state representative has introduced a bill this session that would restore that privilege.

Pippin, condemned for murdering two men he thought had stolen $1.6 million from his Colombian drug bosses, yearns for the Ellis days. "We could go without handcuffs," he said. "We could work in the garment factory or go down the hall to talk to friends."

Now, Pippin's primary chance to talk to other inmates comes during solitary recreation sessions in a day room near the other cells. Theoretically, he could yell to — but not see — inmates in neighboring cells. But at death row, which is noisy 24 hours a day, Pippin can't hear. "Too much rock 'n' roll," he said of his damaged hearing.

He complains, too, of the fluorescent lighting in his cell, which he claims has damaged his vision, and of the "child-sized" portions of food. (A typical day's menu consists of three pancakes for breakfast, a 4-ounce pork cutlet for lunch and a 4-ounce hamburger patty for dinner, all accompanied by side dishes of vegetables, fruit and bread.)

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One Response to Living Conditions on Death Row

  1. Diane says:

    I think that menu is all over the Usa , here in calif its chicken, chicken chicken…..
    I feel Texas head Goat George Bush need to know what eating tht crap is like …..

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