When it comes to crime and mental illness, Florida’s system is badly broken
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I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
May 6, 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
Upcoming Events:

Catholic Teaching and the Realities of the American Death Penalty

Presenter: Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain Florida Death Row

Monday, May 18th — 9:30 – 11:00 am

St. Patrick Interparish Catholic School

550 NE 16th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601

(Not Open to Public)

For Information mail to: Deacon Jack Raymond
Or by phone (352) 376-9878

When it Comes to Crime and Mental Illness, Florida’s System is Badly Broken
By: Dale S. Recinella

In the heat of a controversy over privatization of one of Florida’s last two state owned and run mental hospitals, State Representative Janet Adkins of Fernandina Beach published a letter in the May 2 edition of The Florida Times Union (Jacksonville).

She included some alarming statistics.

    Florida has 125,000 mentally ill persons arrested each year. Of this number
    17,000 are incarcerated in state prisons, 15,000 in local jails and another
    40,000 are under probation and parole.

    The Department of Corrections spends $68 million annually for mental health
    care. According to the Department of Corrections, of 1,300 discharges from
    state mental health treatment facilities each year, on average 782 of these
    individuals were reported to be living in a correctional facility, hospital,
    nursing home, homeless shelter or unknown, a year after discharge.

That is a pretty potent peak under the rug. What is presented as savings from rapid release of the severely mentally ill back into society and out of mental hospitals merely transfers them from the caring department of government to the punishing department of government.

What showed up in the budget as civil mental health care (and is castigated by pundits as ‘nanny government’ for trying to take care of our vulnerable citizens) is transferred in the budget to a costlier solution, incarceration, and shows up as getting tough on crime.

We all know it’s more expensive to treat the mentally ill in prison than it is to treat them in a civil hospital. But the politics of punishment is easier to sell than the politics of mercy.

Representative Adkins did not even get to the issue of Florida wasting at least $52 million per year on the death penalty, instead of life in prison without possibility of parole.

The math is pretty simply. $68 million plus $52 million equals $110 million.

What could Florida do in civil mental health services with $110 million per year? Now there’s a question worth calling a special session for!

© 2009 Dale S. Recinella

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.

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

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