Excerpted Letter of Chaplain Dale S. Recinella to the CDCR dated June 27, 2009 -- PART VII
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I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
August 20, 2009
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
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is hoping to begin executions soon based upon a new Lethal Injection protocol which they have put out for public comment. The most obvious comment is that killing people has nothing to do with rehabilitation and, therefore, the department should be renamed as: California Department of Corrections and Legal Killing.

Moreover, in light of Chaplain Recinella’s experiences with actual executions, the procedures reveal that the folks who prepared the new California protocol have not been involved at the ground level in this barbaric practice. They do not comprehend the base and banal human emotions that surface when human beings are granted the license to legally kill each other. Although he is not an expert on chemicals, it is hoped that his input from ground-zero will wake the CDCR from their idealistic reverie.

Starting July 9, 2009 and for the ensuing seven issues, this Ezine will share with the readers Chaplain Recinella’s comments submitted to the CDCR on their new lethal injection protocol:

Excerpted Letter of Chaplain Dale S. Recinella to the CDCR dated June 27, 2009 -- PART VII


Re: Written Public Comments regarding the Proposed Amendments to Title 15, Article 7.5, Section 3349 from a Concerned Citizen with Extensive Experience with Lethal Injection Executions in the U.S.

The purpose of this communication is to provide you with my written public comments regarding the Proposed Amendments to Title 15, Article 7.5, Section 3349 of the California Code of Regulations from the unique standpoint of a concerned citizen with extensive experience with lethal injection executions in the U.S. Because some of my comments are based upon realities that might not be obvious to those who have never been close to this process, certain comments are accompanied by a background paragraph that fills in the context of the official comment. This is especially the case with comments which request that unaddressed areas be addressed. I trust you will give my concerns serious consideration; I look forward to your response which should be sent to the letterhead address.

Continued:

Furthermore, regarding Sections 3349.4.4:
The provisions of this section regarding handling of witnesses who are family members, loved ones and friends of the executed inmate fails to anticipate their needs and, thus, fails to provide for them. According to the proposed regulations, all other witnesses are escorted to the viewing area by an assistant to the Warden; but the witnesses for the person being executed are escorted by a correctional officer who then stays with them during the execution (3349.4.4(e)(1)-(2)). It is as if they themselves are inmates being supervised by a corrections officer. Likewise, all other witnesses are “escorted back to their designated staging area,” after the execution; but the “inmate’s witnesses shall be transported to the West Gate and processed out of the institution” (3349.23(i)(1)). The witnesses for the person to be executed should be afforded the same dignity and respect shown to all other witnesses.

These provisions should be modified to provide that:

      (a) The Warden or an assistant to the Warden shall be assigned to be       present with the inmate’s witnesses from the moment they arrive at the       site until they leave;

      (b) once the list of the inmate witnesses has been finalized and       approved, the Warden or his assigned assistant shall be responsible to       contact each of them and determine whether pastoral or spiritual       counseling is desired before, during and/or after the execution, and to       provide the logistics for such witnesses to arrange for the presence of       their pastoral or spiritual counselor at the site, including space in the       designated staging area;

      (c) after the execution, the inmate’s witnesses shall be allowed such       time with their pastoral or spiritual advisor in the designated staging       area as is necessary for them to collect themselves before returning       home; and

      (d) it is a fire-able offense for the Warden, Chaplain, assistant to the       Warden, any staff or any intermediary religious service provider       provided by the state for the inmate’s witnesses, to communicate to       them that they should not be upset about the execution of their loved       one because God desires this execution and the CDCR is carrying out       God’s will by killing their loved one.

Background:
Those who have not participated in this process at close range drastically underestimate the trauma to the family and loved ones of the inmate to be executed. These loved ones and family members have not committed any crime. They are not guilty of anything. They too are victims of this process. Their constant question is, “Why do they have to kill him/her? Why couldn’t they just let my son/daughter, father/mother, sister/brother live in prison the rest of their life?”

Unless strictly prohibited from doing so, the Warden, Chaplain, assistant to the Warden, staff or intermediary religious service provider provided by the state for the inmate’s witnesses will be tempted to attribute this state killing to God and to shame the inmate’s witnesses for being upset about God’s will. This temptation is understandable. It is common knowledge that executions are not a deterrent to crime, they do not bring the murder victim back to life, the risk of being killed in prison is lower than in society at large, and life in prison without possibility of parole is much cheaper for the taxpayers than achieving an execution. Everybody knows these things.

In the face of such realities, what answer do state employees and their agents give to the question: “Why do they have to kill him/her? Why couldn’t they just let my son/daughter, father/mother, sister/brother live in prison the rest of their life?”

In Texas, state chaplains are deployed with instructions and training to convince the inmates family and loved ones that they should not be upset about the execution of their loved one because God desires this execution and the state is carrying out God’s will by killing their loved one. As a matter of religion, such a position flies in the face of the leadership of every mainstream Christian denomination in the U.S. with the sole exception of the Southern Baptists (almost half of whom are located in Texas, where almost half of the executions in the U.S. have occurred over the last thirty-two years). Consequently, the use of such false religious doctrine by actors on the payroll of the State, or their agents, is an egregious violation of both inmate witnesses’ religious rights and the constitutional prohibition against state-sponsored religion.

The suffering of the family and loved ones of the executed inmate is the residue of this killing by the state. The state should own it and deal with the cleanup just as much as they should face and deal with the cleanup of urine and feces after the execution without paralytics (see next comment).




©2009 Dale S. Recinella Used with permission. All rights reserved. No further reproduction without permission.

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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 Amazon.com)

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