THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1998202/307-0703


WASHINGTON, D.C.--Jurisdictions across the country seeking to establish or enhance a drug court for nonviolent, drug-abusing offenders are being invited to apply for federal funds. Monday, February 9, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) released the application kit for the FY 1998 Drug Court Program. Congress appropriated $30 million for the FY 1998 drug court program.

"We are proud to announce the fourth year of funding for this innovative approach to helping promote public safety by changing offender drug-using behavior," said OJP Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson. "Communities across the country are using drug courts to help people escape the cycle of drug use and crime in which they are caught. This year we will help start or enhance drug courts that will turn around even more drug-abusing offenders."

For FY 1998, four types of drug court grants will be awarded:

Single Jurisdiction: Any jurisdiction (e.g., city, town, county, etc.) may apply for funding under this category. Applicants are eligible for planning grants of up to $30,000, implementation grants of up to $400,000, or enhancement grants of up to $300,000. Implementation awards will be divided into two parts, one for new drug courts, the other for FY 1997 drug court planning grant recipients.

Statewide, Regional, and Multijurisdictional: State court systems, court systems in multiple states, or a group of single jurisdictions in the same state may apply under this category. Applicants are eligible for planning grants of up to $50,000 or implementation grants of up to $600,000.

Continuation: Jurisdictions that received FY 1996 drug court implementation or enhancement grants are eligible to receive continuation awards of up to $200,000 under this category.

Mini Grants: Jurisdictions with existing drug courts may apply for awards up to $50,000 under this category for training, management information systems, and evaluation.

"The types of awards we plan to make this year are much more targeted than in years past," said Drug Courts Program Office Director Marilyn Roberts. "Based on feedback from drug court participants, we have restructured our FY 1998 program to be responsive to and supportive of developments in the field."

OJP has been making grants for drug courts since 1995 and has awarded over $45 million to approximately 270 jurisdictions for planning, implementing, or enhancing drug courts. In FY 1997, OJP provided over $30 million to 181 jurisdictions for drug courts. In FY 1995, the first year of the program, OJP provided grants to 64 communities totaling over $8 million for drug courts. In FY 1996, OJP made 16 additional implementation and enhancement grants totaling $8.5 million. It is estimated that over 370 courts are being planned or operated across the country.

A report released last year by American University's Drug Court Clearinghouse, supported by OJP, indicates that the number of drug courts being planned or operating in the United States tripled during 1997. The report also indicates that criminal justice professionals estimate that at least 45 percent of defendants convicted of drug possession commit a similar offense within two to three years of their release from jail, while currently less than 4 percent of the individuals who complete drug court programs have been rearrested for drug offenses.

To obtain a copy of the FY 1998 Drug Court Solicitation, contact the Department of Justice Response Center at 1-800/421-6770. For additional information about the drug court program, OJP and its programs, or an electronic copy of the FY 1998 Drug Court Solicitation, visit OJP's web site at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

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For additional information contact: Doug Johnson at 202/616-3559

OJP 98-036