I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
February 14, 2006
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:

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University of Notre Dame presents:
Dale S. Recinella, JD (ND Law 1976)
Catholic Lay Chaplain for Florida’s Death Row & Solitary Confinement

“The Death Penalty Leaves No Survivors”
Hesburgh Center for International Studies
7:00 – 9:00pm Wednesday February 14, 2007
Open to all Students and the Public

“A Tour inside Death Row & Solitary Confinement”
Notre Dame Law School
12:00 noon Thursday February 15, 2007
Open to all Law Students

“The Untold Story of the American Death Penalty”
Notre Dame Law School
1:00pm Thursday February 15, 2007
Open to all LLM Graduate Students

Series sponsored by:
University of Notre Dame Law School Center for International Human Rights and ND-ASK [ND Against State Killing]

For details contact: [NDL] Jessica Erin Tannenbaum (574) 386-1796 jessie@alumni.nd.edu or jessie.tannenbaum@gmail.com [ndask] Will McAuliffe (315) 559-7010 or mcauliffe.4@nd.edu
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Florida Catholic Bishops’
Campaign against the Death Penalty


Dale S. Recinella and Dr. Susan M. Recinella are the featured speakers in this program on the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty in America.

The Bishops of Florida have approved this series of presentations to educate Catholics and interested others about Church teaching on the death penalty.

Attendance by catechists, educators, Respect Life coordinators, and Peace and Justice Committee members is particularly encouraged.

The program will be offered in every diocese in Florida during 2007.

Diocese of Orlando
Orlando, FL – Saturday March 3, 2007
9:30am – 12:30pm
Barry University
Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law Courtroom
6441 East Colonial Drive
Orlando, Florida 32807

For information contact:
The Criminal Justice Office – Catholic Charities of Central Florida or
The Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Orlando
Thomas Gillan @ 407-658-1818 or Leotrainer@aol.com
or Sheila Hopkins (Florida Catholic Conference): (850) 205-6826 or shopkins@flacathconf.org


When Does The Healing Begin?
By: Dale Recinella

It is October 19, 1999 in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. My sister has just died. A few weeks earlier cancer was discovered during her physical. That’s it. One month later she is gone. Brothers, sisters, in-laws, parents—we have all migrated from the hospital to her home in a stunned stupor.


The quaint, depression era glass adorning her forties styled parlor seems to reflect our unspoken questions: Why wasn’t this found sooner? Why wasn’t her illness detected last year? Who missed the signs? Who will raise her five-year-old son?

I drop into the snug reupholstered embrace of my grandmother’s chair. The local section of The Detroit Free Press is sitting on an end table. The headlines snare my glazed-over gaze. “NOW, THE HEALING CAN BEGIN.”

“Easy for you to say,” I mumble with shock at the banner’s audacity and at the color photo of family members hugging beneath it. “Easy for you to …”

The subtitle stops me dead in my tracks. “MAN IS FOUND GUILTY OF 4 CLAW-HAMMER MURDERS AFTER HOME BREAK-IN.” A few lines lower, the article continues, “Now, perhaps, the healing and living can begin for relatives of the four people … killed in the Nov 1 bloodbath.”

The woman in the picture has lost her husband and her grandparents. The murderer has been found guilty, sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. Yet, on the last day of the trial, the family of the victims is already hoping that healing can begin.

My wife and I have ministered to families of murder victims. Maybe healing begins at the end of the trial in Michigan. But that’s not the way it works in Florida.

Michigan doesn’t have a death penalty. All victims of murder are equally valued. All murders are equally horrible. All murderers face life in prison without possibility of parole. Not so in Florida. We bludgeon the families of murder victims with the club of capital punishment. The first blows come with the decision by the State Attorney as to whether or not to seek the death penalty.

Our Constitution requires that capital punishment be limited to only the most heinous and atrocious of murders. This means that out of the 4,500-some murders committed in Florida in the last six years, only a few hundred qualify for the death penalty.

For the surviving families of the thousands of victims whose murders do not qualify for the death penalty, the message is loud and clear. Your horror, your loss, your nightmare, your tragedy is not as bad as others. These poor families are the first wave of death penalty victims. But for the other families, healing is nowhere in sight either.

Capital punishment allows no victims to begin the healing process anytime soon. If the State does seek the death penalty, it is the beginning of a long road. Some political leaders clamor to make the time period shorter. A few years. Sounds reasonable. Unfortunately, it’s not.

In 25% of the sexual assault cases referred to the FBI over the last eleven years, DNA analysis has shown that the wrong man went to prison. Our system is horribly fallible.

As regards capital cases, Florida has had more people found innocent on its death row than any other state. For most of those men it took much longer than five years to establish their innocence. In the case of James Richardson, it took 21 years. The recent case of Frank Smith took almost 15 years.

That family in Michigan could start healing immediately after the trial without any of these problems.

When will our families of murder victims in Florida be able to start healing at the end of the trial?




First published: The Florida Catholic, January 18, 2001
© 2001 Dale S. Recinella & The Florida Catholic.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
No further reproduction or republication without prior written permission.

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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 sha#3333FF 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