Criminals must be rehabilitated while in prisonI...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Criminals must be rehabilitated while in prison

I could not help shaking my head at seeing Harford County's notables applauding themselves as they dig up dirt to inaugurate the $10.75 million jail expansion. To be sure, it was an excellent photo opportunity for county politicians. And I must lamentably agree that more space is needed.

With that considered, let's not confuse rehabilitation with punishment, as Sheriff Joseph Meadows has obviously done. Anyone who has spent any time in the Harford County Detention Center will be hard-pressed to find any organized efforts to rehabilitate. The only position set up to actually reform the aberrant behavior which leads to incarceration is the chaplain. Detention Center chaplains have tirelessly connected the disenfranchised inmate to a host of outside agencies and organizations who aren't just paying lip service to rehabilitation. Remember, these people are our fathers and mothers, our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters.

Recently, I learned that the county was paying the chaplain $5 per hour for a 20-hour work week. What kind of respect does it engender when a government pays a professional little more than a high school student working at Hardees?

I have worked with the inmate population for more than 10 years

as a private citizen. I can say without hesitation that if you do not do a whole lot more than "punish," then you are only putting a walking time bomb back on the streets.

Jerry D. Kallmyer

Abingdon

Forget-me-not drive remembered

September was designed as Forget-me-not month by Gov. Parris N. Glendening, and Disabled American Veterans chapters the United States carried out their annual Forget-Me-Not Drive, which is usually a chapter's only fund-raising project.

Bel Air Chapter 30 of the Disabled American Veterans completed a most successful Forget-me-not Campaign and would like to offer up several well-appreciated kudos. We would like to express our extreme appreciation to the management of the Abingdon Wal-Mart for permitting us to use their facilities and for the courtesies extended to our volunteers by their employees.

Many thanks to the Wal-Mart patrons who contributed to our drive and wore the Forget-Me-Not flowers to show their appreciation and to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who became disabled in the service of their country. We would like to also thank Harford Mutual Insurance Company and Lutz Appliances for their contributions.

W. Donald Williams

Bel Air

The writer is adjutant for Bel Air chapter 30 of the Disabled American Veterans.

Abusing, enslaving behavior is not love

Re: Sept. 18 headline, "A loving father's tragic solution."

We do not subscribe to the daily Sun and so were fortunate to miss your "new paper" on Sept. 18 with the outrageous and irresponsible headline. A friend who knows I work at a center for victims of domestic violence made sure that I did see the paper and the several letters of response.

I applaud those who wrote in anger and disgust at your coverage of this story. Abusive, power-wielding and enslaving behavior is not love.

Mark Clark was a sick person who needed help. His family deserved protection and escape from this dangerous man. They did not get that support and thus have become another statistic in the ever-increasing number of women and children who die each year because of domestic violence. When will you, the editor of The Sun, take the stand that domestic violence in any form is unacceptable behavior?

Trudy Miller

Darlington

Are speed humps a lifesaver or a menace to cars?

This letter is in response to the Mike Burns column, "Humps in the road a poor substitute for policing," in the Oct. 1 Sun for Harford County. My family and I moved into Glenwood Garth in 1989. One thing we liked about the location was the promise of slow-moving traffic. After all, the posted speed limit on East Ring Factory was 25 mph.

Not long after moving in, we discovered that the average speed of drivers on East Ring Factory was much higher than the speed limits. In addition, the vast majority of speeding drivers were not Glenwood Garth residents.

This is not a major city artery lined with office buildings and stores. It's a residential street and speeders are a direct threat to our children.

To be fair, the county police did try to help. I observed an increase of the frequency of radar traps on Ring Factory. We explained to one of the officers that speeding seemed to be most prevalent during the morning and afternoon rush hours. He said it wasn't possible to increase the traffic enforcement activity during those periods because they were also the busiest times for the sheriff's department.

The result of all this? Traffic didn't slow down. Certainly there were more speeding tickets given out, but speeders still found their way to East Ring Factory. Mike Burns says the problem is "not enough voluntary compliance, not enough enforcement."

Well, Mike, you're right, sort of. I constantly observe drivers who don't voluntarily comply with the speed limit. But increased enforcement has failed. I fully believe that traffic enforcement will not solve the speeding problem on East Ring Factory Road unless the county installs a radar crew there permanently. This is not something county taxpayers are likely to support.

My personal experience on Ring Factory has included observing speeders and dangerous maneuvers. The road's steep grade encourages high speeds. From the top of the hill, I can't stay within the speed limit without riding my brakes. I have also had drivers get impatient with me (for driving the speed limit) and cross the center double yellow lines (I thought they meant "no passing") to speed around me.

Mr. Burns, you haven't done your homework. You say that speed limit signs "slow conscientious drivers."

Maybe so, but they sure don't slow speeders. You say that the traffic calming devices are "complicated measures." Yet what could be simpler than this: The speeding is self-enforced and the police don't have to constantly monitor Ring Factory traffic? You say that traffic calming devices are "expensive" and of "questionable value."

In reality, they have already paid for themselves by deterring Ring Factory speeders and making life safer for our children. You say that "many speeders will ignore the effects of these humps." You are far from the truth.

Since the calmers have gone in, I have never seen so many law-abiding drivers on Ring Factory. "Panic braking"? Not true. There are huge signs announcing the location of each calmer. "Boosting repair bills"? What a great way to fine lawbreakers! "Rattle an old car"? Mine has over 125,000 miles and the calmers don't bother me a bit (I still drive Ring Factory at 25 mph).

Apparently, Mr. Burns is concerned that traffic calming devices are going to proliferate throughout Harford County. He says, "Vigorous police enforcement is needed and citizens should demand it." Don't be fooled. There aren't enough police around to catch all of the speeders and you wouldn't pay for them anyway. Traffic calmers are better and cheaper.

Garrett A. Rowley

Bel Air

Years ago, the entrance to public works off Route 22 at Bynum Run Pond had speed bumps to slow the employees' ingress and egress. For some reason, the administration had them removed. Now, they can speed down the road at quitting time, abusing their expensive maintenance equipment, and speed back out in their private vehicles.

But wait. The administration hasn't forgotten about speed bumps entirely. In its wisdom, it has installed them along the main Bel Air bypass between Routes 22 and 24 on the Ring Factory-Brierhill Road, at a time when construction has traffic backed up continuously on Route 22.

Other then parking lots and dead-end driveways, I have never seen speed bumps in any of my travels. Was this decision made by the head of an auto alignment shop or is it just that this neighborhood has more influence then others? Come on, folks. Let's get real and eliminate this menace while you can still save face and I can save my front-wheel drive.

Weller

Bel Air

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