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Executive Records, Governor Spiro T. Agnew, 1967-1969
Volume 83, Page 634   View pdf image (33K)
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634 ADDRESSES AND STATE PAPERS

worked its way out of an almost impossible tangle of restraints and
set in motion long delayed projects such as the Interstate Highway
system through Baltimore. I endorse and urgently recommend that
you adopt the Redding Committee's proposal that the Commission
be given a free hand in planning and developing the State's primary
highways without having to obtain prior approval of local legislators
and county commissioners. Professional rather than political judgment
is the key to expediting highway construction throughout Maryland.

Prison reform ranks high on our list of unfinished business. A $2. 7
million increase in the Department of Correction's budget is recom-
mended principally to implement last year's Michaelson Commission
report. In addition an impressive $4. 7 million has been included for
the Department in the 1969 Capital Budget. Genuine rehabilitation
requires more than simple imprisonment if we are to reduce the re-
volving-door syndrome plaguing Maryland's prisons. We must first
provide the proper facilities and personnel. Rehabilitation must also
be practiced at the local level. In order to encourage and enable local
governments to improve their correctional efforts, I am proposing
legislation authorizing State matching funds for the construction and
staffing of regional detention centers. The economy of regional rather
than independent facilities is obvious. More important, this bill
should relieve pressure from primary State detention facilities while
extending professional rehabilitation services at minimal cost to Mary-
land's subdivisions. Prison reform can significantly reduce Maryland's
crime rate. Presently seven out of every ten prisoners are ultimately
returned to custody. It is perfectly clear that as we rehabilitate crimi-
nals we reduce crime.

A proper system of "early release" probation and parole must ac-
company prison reform if we are to realize a substantial decrease in
repeated crimes. "Early release" — a modern penal concept — must
be practiced cautiously with careful screening and professional super-
vision serving as a public safeguard.

CONCLUSION

In review and retrospect, we can say the state of the State is good —
but not good enough. I have attempted to outline some of the chal-
lenging problems that confront us and to offer solutions. Other pro-
posals will be before you from the Legislative Council, and still others
will originate within your membership during the next 69 days. Ad-
ditional legislation will be presented for your consideration by the
executive branch in the course of the session.

 

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Executive Records, Governor Spiro T. Agnew, 1967-1969
Volume 83, Page 634   View pdf image (33K)
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