Thursday, May 24, 2012

'Firing Squad' Boosts Productivity of Death Row Workers

By creating a new performance evaluation group, prison officials have boosted the productivity of death row inmates enrolled in work programs.

Condemned prisoners are rarely allowed out of their cells, and those with work assignments can only perform chores in the death row block. The tasks are mainly custodial, such as sweeping cells, mopping the hallway floors, or emptying trash cans. But despite the simplicity of the jobs, some death row inmates occasionally did sloppy work or skipped their duties entirely—until now.

“Too many inmates were doing a lousy job on their chores,” said a prison spokesman, “so we decided to form a group that would evaluate their work performance and take away jobs from the inmates who weren’t working hard enough. We haven’t come up with an official name for the group yet, but since their sole duty is to fire inmates who are doing a poor job, we refer to them as the ‘firing squad.’ We’re still trying to come up with a real name, but for now that’s what we call them.”

Since the group’s formation, productivity of death row inmates has increased greatly. When a prisoner doesn’t sweep well enough or misses a spot while cleaning windows, he’s told he’ll have to stand in front of the ‘firing squad’ if he doesn’t do better. The mere threat of the new job evaluation group apparently frightens inmates into working much harder.

“It’s amazing,” said one prison guard. “Just the other day I told this big, tough serial killer that I’d haul him to the firing squad myself if he didn’t do a better job of mopping. The guy broke down in tears and got that floor spick and span in no time. I guess he was really worried about losing his job. It’s weird, though. I never knew these guys cared so much about their work assignments.”

But apparently death row inmates do care about their jobs, no matter how menial they are. Several hardened criminals have been seen weeping, praying, and writing sentimental letters to loved ones after being told they were headed for the firing squad following a poor work performance.

And apparently prisoners aren’t the only ones who get anxious when the evaluation group is mentioned. After a truckload of groceries arrived late, a newly-hired prison guard mistakenly threatened an employee of the prison’s food delivery service with a visit to the firing squad. The poor truck driver fainted on the spot and had to be taken to the infirmary to be revived.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lethal Injections Get a Festive Makeover

Just in time for summer, the lethal injection process is about to get a much-needed facelift. For years now, death penalty states have used a so-called “lethal cocktail” of three drugs to execute convicted killers. While this procedure was always considered more humane and more dependable than other methods of death, it’s garnered plenty of bad press lately. Some states have run out of one of the required drugs while others are stuck with large batches of “expired” drugs which have been deemed potentially harmful—somewhat ironic, considering that the drugs are meant to kill their recipient!

To combat the bad press and “liven up” the lethal injection process, some states are now adding food coloring, paper umbrellas, plastic flamingos, and other decorations to their lethal injection drugs. “The newspapers have been calling it a ‘lethal cocktail’ for years,” said an anonymous prison spokesman. “So we figured we’d dress it up and make it more like an actual cocktail.”

While inmates can’t be given real alcohol, the spokesman said that adding bright food coloring and an orange slice or a pineapple wedge makes the mixture far more festive. “We’re still working on ways to add cherries and other small pieces of fruit,” he explained. “Those little plastic cocktail swords might seem harmless, but they’re a serious violation of the prison’s weapons policy.”

After consulting with bartenders from popular restaurant chains, lawmakers have come up with a list of “cocktails” with fun, execution-appropriate names like Last-Minute Stay, Call from the Governor, and The Exonerator. While some of the trendy drinks in real bars have names with harmful or negative connotations—such as Snake Bite, Mind Eraser, or Irish Car Bomb—prison officials decided not to go that route.

“We tossed around the idea of names like Angry Cellmate or Court-Appointed Lawyer but decided against them in the end,” said our prison spokesman. “We want to keep the mood light and fun. Just imagine the chuckles you’ll hear in the death chamber when the condemned man or woman says, ‘Can I get a Last-Minute Stay, please?’ or ‘I’d really like a Call from the Governor.’ Hopefully it’ll make the whole process easier on everyone involved.”

To generate excitement about the program, some prisons have come up with catchy names for their new system and are already launching promotions. One state renamed its death chamber O’Sparky’s and hung up a banner that says Time for some Capital Fun-ishment! Another state dressed its prison guards in hats and suspenders, pinned lots of whimsical buttons to their shirts, then sent them off to death row with laminated menus that read Dying for Something Different? Try One of Our New Gleeful Injections!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Butts Block Bartee Execution

Mere hours before convicted killer Anthony Bartee was due to be executed in Texas, his lawyers filed a flurry of appeals to delay the process.

Bartee was found guilty of killing a man then stealing his motorcycle, but his lawyers argue that some evidence found at the crime scene wasn’t properly tested. They now demand that drinking cups and cigarette butts found at the victim's home be tested for DNA to see if someone else was there on the night of the murder.

“These cups and cigarette butts are crucial evidence,” said an anonymous member of the legal team. “Especially the butts. Someone needs to examine those butts closely. They should be examined and possibly probed. Something stinks here, and I think it’s those butts.”

The anonymous source went on to say, “We’ve been trying to get our hands on those butts for years, and now we’ve finally got them. Just one little butt can make a huge difference. Maybe it’s the victim’s butt. Maybe it’s Anthony Bartee’s butt. But maybe that butt belongs to a stranger. Maybe it’s a killer’s butt. And if so, we need to find that killer and throw his butt in jail. His other butt, I mean. Sorry.”