When “Many” Means an Aberration from the Norm
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I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
September 1, 2012
Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Correctional Chaplain Florida's Death Row & Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella,Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed and for seventeen years a Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults.

When “Many” Means an Aberration from the Norm
By: Dale S. Recinella
Catholic Correctional Chaplain for Florida’s Death Row

Unknown to many Americans is the fact that we have at least one U.S. Supreme Court Justice who uses his speaking opportunities overseas to nudge Europeans in favor of reinstating the death penalty.

For example, a few years ago, when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spoke at the University College Dublin (“UCD”) to their Law Society, he ardently advocated the inability to achieve justice without killing people.

“Justice is not just about deterrence but also about punishment, declared U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a frank questions and answers session at O’Reilly Hall UCD.” states the web article “U.S. Supreme Court Justice engages in Q&A session at UCD,” Nuacht UCD.

We must assume that our esteemed jurist, in conceding to the overwhelming statistical evidence that refutes any social deterrent effect from the death penalty, is confirming his opinion that deterrence is irrelevant. We should not be surprised. As noted in our last newsletter, Justices Scalia and Thomas have written that factual innocence is irrelevant.

The UCD article quotes him further: “Rulings are a question of what justice demands.”

We might ask, Really? Does justice demand that someone be killed by the state even if the person condemned is factually innocent? Or even if there is absolutely no demonstrable deterrent effect on society?

I am not able to track our justices as they speak around the world. So, I am grateful to those who do and, then, provide me with articles about their words. In the Irish Times about the UCD event, reporter John Downes noted Justice Scalia’s view that many U.S. states believe justice requires the death penalty.

The ambiguity of the word “many” could erroneously create the impression that it means most or almost all. Hard facts reveal that the actual use of the death penalty in the U.S. is overwhelmingly a regional phenomenon, an aberration localized in the Bible belt, the area of the country consisting of the eleven states and territory (Oklahoma) of the Confederacy and the slaveholding Border States.

From the launch by the U.S. Supreme Court of the modern death penalty experiment in 1976 through the end of 2011, over 85% of the 1,274 U.S. executions at the state level1 have been in the Bible-belt.2 Over 91% of the total U.S. state-level executions have taken place in just 14 of the 50 states.3 More than two-thirds of U.S. jurisdictions, the other 36 states and the District of Columbia, are either not participating (17 with no executions at all) 4 or virtually not participating (for example, another 11 states had only one, two or three total executions over the entire 35-year period).5

We suggest that a more accurate description of what “many” states believe is that justice requires punishment. Life-in-prison without parole is a punishment available in every state except Alaska, even in Texas. Moreover, as taxpayers are finally finding out, life without parole costs a small fraction of what the death penalty costs.

We cannot stop Supreme Court Justices from conducting death penalty promo-tours overseas. But we can expect they will honestly admit that U.S. executions are a geographic aberration. And that they will be honest in detailing their personal beliefs that state killing is necessary despite factual innocence, despite crippling and excessive costs, despite the statistical evidence that deterrence in society is a myth, and despite outcomes that show overwhelming and intractable bias against the poor and people of color.

Myths about the U.S. death penalty are easy to peddle overseas.

The truth about the death penalty makes for a tough sell on either side of the Atlantic.

(1)   During this period, three (3) executions have occurred at the Federal level.
(2)   Bible-belt Executions (from 1976 thru 2011): TX 477, VA 109, OK 96, FL 71, MO 68, AL 55, GA 52, NC 43, SC 43, LA 28, AR 27, MS 15, TN 6 and KY 3: Total 1093.
(3)   TX 477, VA 109, OK 96, FL 71, MO 68, AL 55, GA 52, OH 46, NC 43, SC 43, LA 28, AZ 28, AR 27, IN 20; Total 1,163
(4)   KS, NH, NJ, NY, AK, HI, IA, ME, MA, MI, MN, ND, RI, VT, WV, WI, DC: Total Zero.
(5)   WY, SD, CT, NM, CO, ID, OR, KY, PA, MO, NE: Total 21

©2012 Dale S. Recinella, Tallahassee, Florida U.S.A.
All rights reserved. No reuse or republication without permission.

Upcoming Events:

Fall 2012: Now I Walk on Death Row
      Catholic Correctional Chaplain for Florida Death Row
Books will be available for purchase and signing at all events (except in prison)

Now I Walk on Death Row - in Florida
Joint presentation by Kenneth Cofield [Kenny in the book]

    Wednesday evening: September 5th from 6 -7:30 pm
    Penney Farms, Florida
    Contact: Ms. Marguerite Bronkema @ 904.529.9607

Annual Gathering of Prison Ministry Volunteers - Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee
“I Was In Prison”

    Saturday, September 22, 2012 -- 9:30am to 1:30pm (CST)
    Blessed Trinity Parish, 2331 Highway 177A, Bonifay FL 32425
    Contact Stephanie DeCoste McNeill, MPS, Director of Adult Faith Formation
    at E-mail or 850-435-3526

Wakulla Correctional Institution – Annex
Faith and Character Based Program - Chapel

    Sunday September 30, 2012 – Afternoon Service
    110 Melaleuca Drive
    Crawfordville, Florida 32327-4963
    Contact: Volunteer Coordinator Dr. Stephen Hammond
    at E-mail or 850-766-4477

State of Florida Respect Life Conference
Panel on the Death Penalty

    Saturday October 13, 2012 – 3:40 to 4:30pm*
    St. Joseph's Catholic Church/Cody Enrichment Center
    11757 Old Saint Augustine Road Jacksonville, FL 32258 (904) 268-5422
   Contact: Mary Catherine Damon, Respect Life Coordinator at E-mail

*Books will be available for purchase and signing throughout the day

Now I Walk on Death Row - in Wyoming

State of Wyoming Catholics United for Life
2012 Statewide Respect Life Conference
Justice, Mercy and Capital Punishment

    - Our Family’s Journey into Service to the Least
    - The Death Penalty Up Close: A Walk through Death       Row and the Death House
    - My Journey with Respect Life

     Saturday October 6, 2012
     Holiday Inn, Cody, Wyoming
     Contact: Catholics United for Life: Info or
    Symona at 307.754.1026 or Mary Anne at 307.587.5113

Now I Walk on Death Row - in Italy

          Catholic Correctional Chaplain for Florida Death Row
          Catholic Volunteer for Ministry to Families of the Executed

Events throughout Italy October 15 – November 3, 2012:
     Turin, Genoa, Milan, Florence, Rome and other locations to be set
Nel braccio della morte: Un avvocato di Wall Street diventa cappellano dei condannati a morte per fare quello che Gesù ha detto
(Edizioni San Paolo: 2012).
The Italian edition of Now I Walk on Death Row will be available for purchase and signing at all events. Contact: E-mail

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 Monthly Ezine - You will love Dale's Book!
The Poor Clare Sisters
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 The Poor Clare Sisters of Spokane
to support the IWasInPrison Outreach