Am I My Brother’s Keeper?
I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
October 4, 2007
Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed
Florida Catholic Bishops’ Campaign against the Death Penalty

Dale S. Recinella and Dr. Susan M. Recinella are the featured speakers in this program on the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty in America. The Bishops of Florida have approved this series of presentations to educate Catholics and interested others about Church teaching on the death penalty. Attendance by catechists, educators, Respect Life coordinators, and Peace and Justice Committee members is particularly encouraged. The program will be offered in every diocese in Florida during 2007. At the following two locations, books will be available for purchase and signing.

Diocese of Venice
Saturday, October 27, 2007
1:30-4:30 p.m.
St. Ann Hall, Bishop Nevins Academy
4380 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, Florida
Contact: Marina Kopko (941) 441-1112
Sheila Hopkins (Florida Catholic Conference): (850) 205-6826 or

Dale Recinella will be speaking on Catholic Teaching and the Realities of the American Death Penalty from Up Close at the following forums (books will be available for purchase and signing):

Statewide Florida Respect Life Conference
Saturday October 13, 2007
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Quorum Hotel
700 N. Westshore Blvd.
Tampa, Fl 33609
Contact: Sabrina Burton (727) 344-1611
Sheila Hopkins (Florida Catholic Conference): (850) 205-6826 or

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?
By: Dale Recinella

When I see my friend every weekend at Church, we usually waive politely from a distance. Not today. He is headed for me with purpose and mission.

“Read your columns,” he winces. “Sounds like you’re for the inmates.”

“No question about it,” I nod. “I’m definitely for the inmates.”

He shakes his head disgustedly, “I knew it. You’re against the officers.”

“Oh no,” I respond. “I’m for the officers, too.”

“What? That’s preposterous. You can’t be for both!”

“I have to be for both,” I place a hand on his shoulder in emphasis. “Jesus is for both.”

He steps back apace throwing up his hands, “Then who’s the bad guy?”

I pause. He will not like my answer.

“See there,” he jumps in to my hesitation, thumping a pointed finger against my chest. “Even you know you can’t be for both sides. Who’s the bad guy?”

“I am for both,” I explain slowly. “I must be because Jesus is for both. The bad guys are you and me. We are the voters and the taxpayers who treat both the officers and the inmates unjustly.”

“What kind of drivel is that?” his tone wanes to incredulity.

“We are responsible for their care and their working conditions. When it comes to corrections officers and inmates in Florida, we have subjected them both to tremendous injustice.”

“That’s nonsense.”

“No it isn’t. When I walk into a prison with Jesus in my pocket, I spend the entire time surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ. Some are wearing brown because they are officers. Some are inmates wearing blue and some are inmates wearing orange because they are on death row. But all of them are in unjust conditions because you and I would rather spend money entertaining ourselves than pay the taxes necessary to treat them justly.”

“What’s unjust… what injustice?”

“How much time do you have?” I ask, realizing that all the cars in the Church parking lot are gone except his, mine and Father’s.

“This can’t take long, Shoot.”

“Okay. Take the case of the mentally retarded and the mentally ill. Our state is in contempt of court for its refusal to provide for the retarded. And our severely mentally ill are mostly wandering the streets of our inner-cities without community care.”

“What’s that got to do with anything?” his eyes roll in an exaggerated rim shot.

“It’s all connected. You and I refuse to pay the taxes necessary to care for the severely mentally ill in their communities. Sooner or later many of them get in trouble. Then we throw them in jails and prisons without the mental health services to properly treat them. Essentially we punish them for being sick, for needing treatment.”

“Fine. Assume you’re right. What’s that got to do with the officers?”

“Then we tell the officers, ‘Here. Take them. Keep them out of our sight. We’re not going to provide the money to adequately treat them. We’re not going to give you the tools or the experts to properly care for them. They’re your problem.’ That’s injustice to both the inmates and officers. They both deserve much better.”

“What’s your point?”

“I don’t think Jesus would be pointing at either the officers or the inmates today. I think Jesus would be pointing at you and me, challenging us to be fairer to both of them by stepping up to our duty to care for all our brothers and sisters justly. Jesus told us we must take care of each other.”

“But that would mean higher taxes.”

“Did Jesus make an exception if it costs us money?”

First published: The Florida Catholic, October 28, 1999
© 1999 Dale S. Recinella & The Florida Catholic.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
No further reproduction or republication without prior written permission.

I Was In Prison
News & Updates
This ezine is targeted for people involved in prison ministry or in stopping the death penalty, we think you will find helpful information for people who are undecided about capital punishment, for those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and for those who feel called to participate through prayer and adoration.

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Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

If you Like this Weekly Ezine - You will love Dale's Book!
Sr. Patricia Proctor
Paperback: 433 pages

Excellent book on the topic!,
June 13, 2005 Nathan Eanes
(Review from

The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty is a must-read. It deals with Biblical standards of Capital Punishment and then compares them to the system used in America today. It is the best-researched, most faithful to scripture, and most evenhanded analysis I have ever read concerning the Death Penalty. Whatever your persuasion on the issue, this book will teach you a great deal. Recinella is a trained lawyer and committed Christian who now volunteers part-time on Florida's death row. He thus understands law, the Bible, and the system of execution in America. I challenge anyone who supports the Death Penalty to read this book.

This ezine edited by Sister Patricia Proctor, OSC - Poor Clare Sister
to support the IWasInPrison Outreach