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.
William R. McCaffrey (D), incumbent, 48, of 12405 Lytton Ave., Brandywine, a delegate since 1975, is on Ways and Means, Joint Legislative Audit and Review and other committees on county affairs, farm taxes, human resources and urban affairs. A former sportscaster and telephone company supervisor, he is active in service and fraternal groups.
Sentences: (a) I believe in mandatory sentencing for repeat offenders and for anyone who commits murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated and vicious assault and drunk driving. (b) Unfortunately, I think it is now time to build a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders, especially the repeat offenders. Juvenile offenders can become sophisticated criminals; they should be housed in a security facility together and not with the adult offenders, for rehabilitation purposes. The types of crimes now being committed by juveniles dictates this.
Spending: It is difficult at this time to determine where we will spend more money, in view of Reaganomics, cuts in programs, taxation, etc. I believe there should be no reductions in programs for the mentally and physically handicapped, police aid and education. We may have to increase our spending in these areas. A retraining program should be set up for those citizens who are unemployed, to assist them in becoming employable again.
Legislation: I propose to introduce legislation in the following areas: 1) mandatory sentencing to include different penalties for repeat offenders, victims rights and the closing of Patuxent Institute; 2) exploring alternative means of raising revenues other than increased taxation, and 3) expanding programs to benefit senior citizens and the mentally and physically handicapped.
Sheldon E. Sacks (R), 40, of 12101 Lihou Ct., Fort Washington, a financial planner, investment advisor and broker, is associate vice president of International Money Management Corp. in Greenbelt. He serves on the county's Economic Develoment Advisory Commission and was president of the Allentown Civic Association for four years.
Sentences: (a) I would support legislation requiring judges to impose mandatory sentences for serious repeat offenders who are not waived. A strongly enforced juvenile restitution program -- with the repayment for damages and the utilizing of offenders for work in public maintenance programs -- should be urged on the legislature.(b) A maximum security facility for juvenile offenders is not necessary at the present time. Rather, minimum security facilities, possibly using some of the closed schools in the county, could be utilized to rehabilitate juveniles guilty of lesser crime, such as drunk driving and drug-related offenses. Such facilities would help alleviate the overcrowded conditions and thus prevent the premature release of criminals. The insanity defense and other loopholes should not be allowed to return violent criminals to the streets.
Spending: Maryland should spend more money on programs that will bring in additional revenue and create jobs: economic development programs, the establishment of urban enterprise zones and expanded use of industrial revenue bonds. Job counseling and job training programs to provide training opportunities at lowest cost. More money should be utilized to crack down on those who deal in drugs, to provide additional drug rehabilitation programs and to provide more prison space. The mechanism should be altered so that excess funds not spent in a fiscal year can be reallocated in subsequent years. Too often agencies and departments feel compelled to spend their funds, regardless of need, so that subsequent budgets will not be cut. Travel, training and public relations budgets are too often mismanaged. Fewer out-of-state trips. Huge expenditures are allocated to publish and mail to all residents annual reports of departments, which are puffery to advance the political career of the head of the agency.
Legislation: 1) I would propose legislation to strengthen the court system, including the mandatory sentencing for certain crimes and repeat offenders. I would work on revamping the juvenile justice system. 2) I would sponsor legislation to establish statewide community care services for disabled elderly. 3) I would propose legislation to require that loose loads on open trucks be covered. Also, campaign contributions from contractors doing business with the state should be prohibited. I would sponsor a law to prohibit such acitivity, as well as to prohibit legislators from lobbying on behalf of actions in which they have a financial interest.
Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D), incumbent, 45, of 8116 Rosaryville Rd., Upper Marlboro, is serving his second term in the House, where he is on the Judiciary Committee and is vice chairman of a subcommittee on law enforcement and state boards. A practicing attorney, he is a past president of the county's Criminal Trial Lawyers Association.
Sentences: (a) Mandatory sentences should be required for subsequent offenders of serious violent offenses. Mandatory sentences for all crimes would place too heavy a burden on our prison system. We should ensure the violent offenders are removed from our streets. (b) Maryland should build a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders. This facility should be used to hold only juveniles who, if they were adults, would have been convicted of committing violent felonies. Consequently, the juvenile justice system would be better able to protect society by keeping dangerous delinquents away from our communities.
Spending: Our state government should target more money into two major areas: education and transportation. Becuase of inflation and TRIM, our public educational system has not been able to best meet the demands of our young people.Our school system should provide the best comprehensive education to prepare our youth to adequately live in tomorrow's society. Thus, education should be supported by additional state money. A second major emphasis should be on our public transportation system. The Metro subway system should be completed into southern Prince George's County. Additionally, a bus ride-along program (similar to Mongomery County's) should be established to provide inexpensive bus transportation to the residents of the southern part of our county. Finally, in the transportation area, money is needed to maintain our existing highways and bridges.
Legislation: 1) Adopting standard state sentencing guidelines in Maryland. These guidelines should be based on the nature of the crime as well as the prior history of the criminal. This system should create fair and equitable punishment throughout Maryland. 2) Provide a state funding mechanism for the Prince George's County Juvenile Crime Restitution Fund. Last year I worked to create a fund to help victims of juvenile crime, but our county has been unable to fund the program because of budget restraints. A specific funding source is needed to help these victims. 3) A pilot program is needed to create a bus ride-along program in Prince George's County. We need inexpensive mass transportation to go into all areas of our county.
John W. Wolfgang (D), incumbent, 55, of 12334 Hatton Point Rd., Fort Washington, was appointed to the House in 1970 and was elected in 1974 and 1978. He has chaired the Economic Matters Committee and served on Rules and Legislative Policy committees. He is a practicing attorney and owner of a small business in Clinton.
Sentences: (a) Only as an additional penalty-to the principal crime, such as the present use of hand guns. (b) A maximum security facility for juvenile offenders is necessary immediately.
Spending: I think that state expenditures could be increased in the areas of public education and dramatically increased for Chesapeake Bay cleanup. I think state expenditures can be reduced in most of the regulatory agencies.
Legislation: 1) Specific legislation for control of the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay. 2) Legislation to deal with habitual and repeat offenders. 3) Legislation to change the formula for funding state's share of public education.