I Was In Prison Outreach Ministry

September 23, 2011

Life Matters: The Death Penalty cover imageby Cathy Jarboe, CMN Director for Catholic State Networks and Organizations

Dale Recinella has gathered thousands of stories – both joyful and painful – along his 20-year journey as a spiritual counselor and Catholic lay chaplain in Florida’s prisons. On behalf of the Catholic Bishops of Florida, he ministers cell-to-cell to the more than 400 men on Florida’s death row and the approximately 2,000 men in Florida’s long-term solitary confinement. He and his wife, Dr. Susan Ward Recinella, have ministered as a team during executions. He serves as spiritual advisor to the condemned and Dr. Recinella serves as a lay minister to the familes and loved ones of the condemned.

Sadly, this has been an exceptionally busy year as Florida has sped up executions, despite being first in the nation in the number of innocent persons exonerated from death row. Dale and Susan make it a priority to support and minister to the families and loved ones of murder victims as well. Their restorative approach focuses on the dignity of the human person, sanctity of all life, restoration of community, redemption of souls, mercy, and care for community. This model of restorative justice serves the state of Florida well, and helps to bring about God’s Kingdom.

Dale and Susan are inspirational speakers and members of the CMN Speakers Bureau team – traveling internationally and throughout the U.S., telling their personal story and sharing the powerful and tragic stories of those they meet in their daily lives. The couple’s  non-profit ministry, “I Was In Prison Outreach Ministry,” publishes an “e-zine” for people involved in prison ministry, working to end the use of the death penalty, to educate those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and to encourage those who participate through prayer and adoration. Sign up on their website to receive regular updates.

CMN has longed recommended Dale’s moving memoir, Now I Walk on Death Row: A Wall Street Finance Lawyer Stumbles into the Arms of a Loving God (Chosen Books: April 2011) and The Biblical Truth about America’s Death Penalty (Northeastern University Press: 2004). Readers can find detailed, researched explanations on all of the biblical texts related to, or used to justify, the death penalty.

Readers can also find published articles by Dale including, “Ending the Death Penalty: What One Catholic Supreme Court Justice Could Do” (America, April 28, 2008), and “No to the Death Penalty,” (America, November 1, 2004) as well as radio interviews and video presentations.

There are several videos of Dale’s presentations as well. Here is one from his presentation at the Jesuit School in Tampa, Florida. Additionally, both Dale and Susan spoke about their ministry at Mount Saint Mary University.

To donate to “I Was In Prison Outreach Ministry,” send contributions to

201 West Park Avenue, Suite 301,
Tallahassee, FL 32301-7760

or contact Dale at BrotherDale@comcast.net.

This article first appeared in the CMN May 2014 Newsletter.