First I want to say your blog was very interesting.
I agree on the fact that "some" prisoners should be fully compensated for their wrong-doing. But I disagree with you on the answer to "Is killing people really the ultimate 'punishment'?" One thing that I totally agree on with the Texas legislatures is the death penalty policy.
Do you really believe that executing is really a favor to a prisoner? Do you really believe that if a prisoner only had to choose between death or life imprisonment that prisoner would choose to be executed? Maybe for few but not for most. If a father was imprisoned, would they want to live until they see their children grow safe and healthy? For most, they will risk their miserous life in prison to witness their family through. I have never been to a jail, but I bet that it means a lot when their family comes to visit them. Its counterpart, Death, will end their life and it might end their families life. We should understand their familys' situation as well.
Also I admire you when you say that we should not kill people to emtpy prison rooms, but do you think that our Texas legislature has implemented death penalty to empty prison rooms and save money? Although very minor reason could be financial burden of having so many prisoners, it is not safe to believe that idea.