||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 I
CDCR Regulation and Policy Management Branch
P.O. Box 942883
Sacramento, CA 94283-0001
Ph: (916) 255-5500 (Mr. Timothy M. Lockwood, Chief, RPMB)
Fax: (916) 255-5601
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.
Ladies & Gentlemen:
For the last eleven years I have served as the representative of the Catholic Bishops of Florida in cell-to-cell ministry on Florida’s
death row which is the second largest death row in the country (after California). In that capacity I have also provided one-on-one
private pastoral counseling to over 40 death row inmates (approximately 10% of the men held on death row in Florida), and have provided
spiritual advisor services on death watch 12 times. I have witnessed, on behalf of the man being executed, five executions, including
Florida’s botched lethal injection in December of 2006. My wife and I also minister to the families of murder victims in non-capital
cases. Moreover, I am a licensed lawyer in Florida, hold a Masters Degree in Theological Studies from Ave Maria University, and in 2004,
published a scholarly work on the U.S. death penalty and the Bible.
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.
Dale S. Recinella
Catholic Lay Chaplain
Florida Death Row
Regarding Section 3349.1.2(a)(4)(B): This section provides that the Warden may contract with physicians to be members of the Lethal
Injection Team or attend the execution.
This provision should be modified to provide that medical doctors are not to be part of the Lethal Injection Team and should not
be brought into an execution at all.
Background: Without the requested change, the doctor is placed in the position of having to assist in the killing of a human being,
especially if the execution has been botched by the rest of the Lethal Injection Team. Regarding the recent attempt in North Carolina
to accomplish the same medical doctor participation envisioned by 3349.1.2(a)(4)(B), Dr. Charles van der Horst, professor of medicine
at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, wrote in the News & Observer:
“When a physician attending an execution finds that the prisoner is not dead, what should the doctor do—resuscitate the prisoner
or finish the job? When doctors start having to make choices about whom to resuscitate and whom to kill, their entire moral
authority is thrown out.”
Furthermore, regarding Section 3349.1.2(a)(4)(B): In the event that this provision is not modified as requested immediately above,
at a minimum it must be supplemented to prohibit participation on Lethal Injection Teams or in executions by any medical personnel
or physicians who are involved in the wellness care of California’s death row inmates.
Background: Without the requested change, every doctor patient relationship and nurse patient relationship on death row becomes
untenable and unethical because the possibility that the doctor or medical professional could be on the inmate’s Lethal Injection
Team or participate in the inmate’s execution directly violates that relationship.
©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