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Tucker gave prison official plan to rehabilitate inmates

Two and a half hours before she was put to death in Texas this week, Karla Faye Tucker handed the state's chief prison official a three-page handwritten "Rehabilitation Plan for Inmates," in which she proposed that prisoners be paid for their work with money they would give back to the state for their food, clothes, housing and medical care.

"When a person enters, they are fed three square meals a day, have a roof over their head, are given clothes to wear, schooling, medical and many other things FREE," Tucker wrote in the letter she handed to Allan B. Polunsky, chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, who said he meets with most condemned inmates before their executions in Huntsville."Everything is handed to us on a silver platter free!" added Tucker, 38, whose execution for a pickax killing in 1983 drew worldwide notice. Misspelling several words, Tucker went on, "Having everything given to us free and told how to do everything has a big tendency to condition a person to be irrisponsible and become very dependant upon the people in care of them."

Polunsky said the state board received hundreds of suggestions each year about improving the criminal justice system, many from inmates. But he said it was highly unusual for a condemned killer to offer such a detailed prescription, especially with execution imminent.

He said her recommendations, which Tucker said were aimed at building life skills that would help prisoners adjust to the outside world, would be forwarded to all board members. But he said he thought that her plan, however well-intentioned, was unnecessary.

During her 14 years awaiting execution, Tucker wrote, she watched many "irrisponsible, uneducated, authority-despising" people enter the prison system, leave it even more irresponsible, and then return again.