||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 III
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.
Furthermore, regarding Sections 3349.3.1(e) and 3349.3.3(f): These provisions require the Chaplain to report to the Warden
the contents of private conversations between the Chaplain and the inmate to be executed. There are no security concerns that justify
this violation of the ethical obligations of clergy in the clergy-penitent relationship; rather, this provision seems to be an attempt
to further dehumanize the inmate.
These provisions should be modified to provide that communications between the Chaplain and the inmate, other than communications
initiated by the Chaplain which are a breach of his/her fiduciary duty to the inmate (see immediately above), are to be accorded the same
protection as all clergy-penitent communications
Furthermore, regarding Sections 3349.3.4(e) and 3349.4.2(b): These provisions permit only the Chaplain to visit the inmate to be
executed in front of his cell to conduct necessary religious rituals. All other spiritual advisors are limited to visiting in the common
visiting area, a space that may be inappropriate for some rituals such as confessions and for expression of deep and heartfelt emotions
by the inmate to his spiritual advisor.
These provisions should be modified to provide that all spiritual advisors should be allowed equal access to cell front visiting.
Background: Security has the means to determine that spiritual advisors are without contraband. These provisions are an unnecessary
violation of the special relationship between the inmate and his/her spiritual advisor at the time when such a relationship is most needed.
These provisions force the inmate to either forego that special relationship or accept instead an employee of the state in that role.
Consequently, these provisions are an egregious violation of both the inmate’s religious rights and the constitutional prohibition against
Furthermore, regarding Sections 3349.3.4(e)(3): These provisions limit the spiritual advisors to visiting in the holding area next to the
execution chamber, and do not permit the advisor to accompany the person to be executed into the chamber. Under other proposed provisions,
other individuals are stationed in the chamber, particularly a non-guard execution team member (3349.4.5(e)(8)) and the Warden (3349.4.5(f)(1)).
These provisions should be modified to provide that the inmate’s spiritual advisor should be allowed in the execution chamber and should be
allowed to maintain a physical contact with the inmate during his/her death.
Background: Even Texas permits the spiritual advisor to enter the execution chamber and to touch the person during the execution. There is
no legitimate reason to exclude the spiritual advisor from the execution chamber or prohibit physical contact with the person being executed.
©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