||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 II
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.
Regarding Section 3349.3.1 This section provides that the Chaplain shall determine the inmate’s religious preferences and needs…attitudes
and thoughts on death and dying…and acceptance of the sentence of death. This section fails to provide appropriate restrictions and
verifications to cover the potential for the Chaplain’s breach of fiduciary duty to the inmate because of the severe conflict of interest
inherent in his/her roles as both a religious advisor to the inmate and an employee of CDCR, the organization which is planning to kill
This provision should be modified to provide that it is a fire-able offense for the Chaplain, either directly or indirectly (through
staff or an intermediary religious service provider recommended to the inmate by the Chaplain), to communicate to the inmate that God
desires this execution or that the CDCR is carrying out God’s will by killing the inmate.
Moreover, with respect to any scheduled execution of an inmate who has waived any of his/her rights to further appeals, this provision
should be modified to require an independent (non-CDRC) investigation pre-execution to determine whether the Chaplain, any officers or
other staff of the CDRC (including medical personnel and mental health professionals) or any outside religious service provider
recommended to the inmate by any of them, has communicated to the inmate that God desires his/her execution and/or that the inmate’s
eternal salvation is in jeopardy if the inmate resists execution by exercising legal rights and appeals.
A form document needs to be added to the documentation package which provides either (a) certification by the independent investigating
team that such an event has not occurred, or (b) certification that such an event has occurred and recommendation to the appropriate
court to reinstate the inmate’s legal rights and appeals.
Background: Unless explicitly sanctioned otherwise with the threat of outside investigation and termination of employment, employees
of the CDRC, including Chaplains, officers, staff, medical personnel and mental health professionals, will always be tempted to make
things run more smoothly by attempting to convince death row inmates that the killing of death row inmates by the CDRC is God’s work
and that the inmate should get on the right side with God by dropping any resistance to it. This approach can be especially effective
with mentally retarded death row inmates (who are susceptible to pleasing authority figures, and are drastically overrepresented on
death rows by many times their prevalence in the population at large) and with mentally ill death row inmates (who are also drastically
overrepresented on death rows).
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 for the ends of the
State by actors on the payroll of the State, or their agents, is an egregious violation of both the inmate’s religious rights and the
constitutional prohibition against state-sponsored religion.
©2009 Dale S. Recinella
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
No further reproduction without 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.
Your name and information will never be used or shared with anyone. We promise!
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