Candidates for the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Sentences: In What cases, if any, would you support legislation requiring judges to impose mandatory sentences? Do you feel Maryland should build a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders? Please explain.
Spending: In which areas of government should the state spend more money or less? Please be specific.
Legislation: Give three examples of legislation you intend to propose.
Lenard R. Clarke (R), of 7306 Riverhill Rd., Oxon Hill, is owner of G & C International Inc., a consulting firm. A former foreign service officer, he has worked for the Department of Commerce, the African Institute for Economic Education and Development and the Peace Corps in six countries. He has vast experience in international trade expansion.
Sentences: (a) I would advocate mandatory sentences for crimes committed with guns and other deadly weapons. I would advocate mandatory sentences for crimes involving the manufacture, sale and/or pushing of narcotics. (b) Maryland should not build a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders. Traditional long-term incarceration has never been a deterrent to offenders.
Spending: A thorough, careful and precise audit of the Maryland budget is a vital prerequisite to answering this question. The issue is of critical importance and I plan to join my colleagues in discerning the pressing needs and priorities of government. I do lean toward providing increased quality and quantity of education for residents of Maryland -- children, youth and adults.
Legislation: Do we need additional legislation? We should survey present legislation to determine what works, is working or is not working.Few legislative proposals are signed into law. I would advocate small-business interests and job-producing incentives.
Carroll James Cummings (R), 60, of 228 Panorama Dr., Oxon Hill, is a former career federal employe who worked as a contracting officer. He is currently a contract consultant.He is past president of the Oxon Hill Vista Association and the Kensington Citizens' Association and holds a law degree.
Sentences: (a) Certainly in those cases involving violent crime mandatory sentences are in order. Incredibly, a large percentage of crimes are committed by recidivists, pointing up the failure of our judiciary. (b) I believe a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders must be given strong consideration, but I do not consider it a high priority matter at this time as would be, for example, jobs for our young people as a deterrent against crime.
Spending: Your question contains an inference that is quite typical of the thinking of many incumbent politicians in Maryland. It is not so much a matter of spending "more money" for various items as how we spend it. The 1983 Maryland budget contains an amount of $6.2 billion, with the bulk of expenditures going for education, transportation and human resources. We have to ask ourselves, for example, how much quality education are we getting for our money and similarly scrutinize expenditures in other areas. As for priorities, we have a strong obligation to address those needs related to health and to the care of the aged. In the area of crime control we have to make more expenditures or continue to have broad crime areas which are simply out of control. Your newspaper has recently done a good job in highlighting reasons why we must expend more for jail facilities.
Legislation: 1) Legislation that would promote and enhance job and income opportunities in the state of Maryland should be given top priority. 2) We must bring crime under control. Legislation for preventive detention and mandatory sentences is not simply an option but a matter of meeting an emergency. 3) There is also some legislation in order that would provide more assurance to our taxpayers that state of Maryland contracts are awarded to the lowest responsive responsible bidders, and that we require broad competition whenever possible. I would add that before any legislation is introduced, and where it is feasible, we should work closely with business and community leaders in laying the groundwork. This would be particularly apropos in working to promote and enhance job and income opportunities.
Joseph C. Ferrusi (R), 52, of 7903 Indian Head Hwy., Oxon Hill, has practiced law in Prince George's County since 1967. He serves on the Prince George's County Juvenile Court Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee on Aging. He also is active in the Lions Club, is a youth athletic coach and is a member of several outdoor groups.
Sentences: (a) I would support legislation requiring judgments to impose mandatory sentences in the following cases: drunk driving, child abuse cases, all homicides, aggravated assaults, housebreaking, all narcotics cases, shoplifting, all female assault cases and juvenile offenses. (b) I believe that Maryland should build a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders. Convicted juvenile offenders of adult crimes should not be committed to the adult prisons and be mixed with hardened adult criminals. With the increase of juvenile crime, I think that a maximum security institution, if properly publicized, may be a deterrent to juvenile crime.
Spending: The state should spend more money in the area of rehabilitating workers who have been unemployed as a result of the recession. More money should be spent in the area of crime prevention and crime deterrents by increasing the police forces and other instruments of crime prevention. More money should be spent in the area of health and human services, specifically for senior citizens, in additional medical and other benefits. More money should be spent to attract foreign industries to the state, and also to encourage indigenous industry and business to hire more employes. Less money should be spent for abortion, medical services to those who are able to afford them and also legal services for those who are able to afford them.
Legislation: 1) Creating a Job Training Program to rehabilitate and train unemployed workers. 2) Legislation creating a minimum bond schedule setting specific amounts for all capital and serious crimes that would require strict observance by the judges, establishing the bond at a preliminary hearing. 3) Legislation to attract new industry to the state and allowing certain benefits and also allowing benefits to indigenous businesses which hire more workers. The benefits allotted would be on a graduated scale.
Christine M. Jones (D), incumbent, 52, of 3518 Everest Dr., Hillcrest Heights, was appointed to the House of Delegates this year. A teacher in Prince George's County for 16 years, she is founder of the county's Coalition on Black Affairs. She has been active in voting and was a delegate to the 1980 Democratic Convention.
Sentences: (a) Anti-crime measures were key issues during the 1982 session of the General Assembly. I supported mandatory sentencing for handgun violators, for burglaries and daytime housebreaking and for persons previously convicted of the manufacture or distribution of controlled or dangerous substances. (b) Yes. Such a facility should be built to separate incorrigible violent and repeat offenders from first offenders and nonviolent delinquency-type crimes
Spending: More funds should be spent on education for effective teaching and so that class sizes will be manageable. More funds should be spent for programs for the mentally retarded, the talented and the gifted, for vocational training and for high-technology education. For proper health care for the indigent and senior citizens. Additional funds should be provided for public safety in order to expand and modernize jails and the court system and prison reform.
Legislation: 1) To revise the judicial selection process. 2) To revise the General Equivalency Degree program in Prince George's County. 3) To attract industry and increase employment.
Marian L. Patterson (D), 55, of 5801 Walnut St., Temple Hills, has served on the board of the Greater Southeast Community Hospital Foundation and the review board of the state Department of Health. She is active in the League of Women Voters, the National Conference of Christians and Jews and Meals on Wheels, along with other cultural and civic groups.
Sentences: Mandatory sentences have been used to assure protection of the community from perpetrators of violent crime. It is important that judges retain their ability to consider all the factors in each case and make decisions on appropriate sentencing. The effort to prepare recommended sentences for the various types of crime, which is currently under consideration, may be a better direction for the future. A maximum security facility for juvenile offenders would provide greater flexibility in providing juvenile detention which is appropriate to the offense. It is important that those who have committed lesser offenses be protected from those who have committed violent crime.
Spending: It is imperative that Maryland continue its strong support for public education, health care, especially for the young and the elderly, and good health planning, which contributes to containing the cost of health care for all. The area of correction and rehabilitation deserves greater support. Effective rehabilitation programs and the development of professionally trained personnel in the corrections field must be a high priority.
Legislation: I would sponsor or cosponsor legislation which will support the priorities outlined in question 2, along with legislation for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Frederick Charles Rummage (D), incumbent, 51, of 6300 George Washington Dr., Camp Springs, has served in the House since 1967; he is on the Rules and Policy committees and chairs the Economic Matters Committee. An attorney and former science teacher, he is executive director of the Prince George's County Educators' Association.
Sentences: Uniformity in sentencing between jurisdictions is the problem, not mandatory sentencing per se. Until we have uniformity, I support mandatory sentencing for heinous crimes, especially when weapons are involved. Juveniles should not be housed with hardened criminals. Consequently, it is imperative that a facility similar to an adult maximum security facility be built.
Spending: In the areas of senior citizens' needs, health needs, education and rehabilitation programs. I have sponsored legislation to create a department for the aging. Rehabilitation in our penal institutions is virtually nonexistent. Equalization in public education costs must be effectuated or the courts will do it for us. Health costs must be brought under control.
Legislation: 1) Legislation to expand foreign trade zones, enterprise zones, revenue ond programs for industrial, home and minority and small-business operations. 2) A department for the aging.