SATURDAY, JULY 11, 1998202/307-0703


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In his weekly radio address, President Clinton announced that more than 150 jurisdictions are receiving grants totaling $27 million to plan, implement, enhance and track the progress of drug courts. The grants range from $30,000 to $400,000 and include awards to San Francisco, Omaha, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Drug courts use the coercive power of the criminal justice system to combine supervision with sanctions, drug testing and treatment and an array of other services to push nonviolent, drug-abusing offenders to stop using drugs and committing crimes.

"Drug courts cut crime," said President Clinton. "More importantly, drug courts save lives. They help people rid themselves of addictions that kill."

In June 1998, Columbia University's Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) released a study showing that drug courts provide closer, more comprehensive supervision and much more frequent drug testing and monitoring than other forms of community supervision.

A 1997 assessment by the American University's Drug Court Clearinghouse found that significant reductions in drug use and recidivism attributed to drug court participation were helping communities save money. For example, Denver's drug court resulted in savings of $1.8 to $2.5 million. The same research showed that drug courts are helping families reunite.

In Portland, Oregon, almost all of the over 100 female participants who had lost custody of their minor children due to their substance abuse regained custody of their children after participating in the drug court program.

"Drug courts give communities the tools they need to help offenders stop using drugs and abandon the lives of crime they have undertaken to support their drug habits," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "By combining sanctions, drug testing and treatment and other services, drug courts have helped stop the revolving door justice that has existed in too many of our communities."

"Over the past 10 years, drug courts have gone from being an alternative method of dealing with drug offenders to a proven, mainstream way to punish drug-abusing offenders and make them confront and get beyond their addictions," added OJP Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson. "To capitalize on the success of the drug court movement, we must collect data on progress drug courts are achieving and share that information aggressively with communities just getting started with a drug court. These new grants will help fund those endeavors."

Drug courts use drug testing to ensure that program participants stay drug-free. Participants are subject to sanctions for failing to comply with their treatment regimens, and receive incentives for progress. Continued failure to comply with program rules results in expulsion from the program--and incarceration.

In the past, OJP has made grants only to single states or jurisdictions that endeavored to plan or implement a drug court or wanted to make improvements to or expand an existing drug court. This year, OJP has introduced two new types of grants: state, regional, or multijurisdictional grants, which will allow a state or a group of jurisdictions to establish a drug court to serve two or more communities; and Training, Management Information System, and Evaluation Grants.

The Drug Court program was established by the 1994 Crime Law. Between FY 1995 and FY 1997, OJP made almost 270 drug court grants to communities to plan, implement or enhance an existing drug court totaling approximately $47 million. The FY 1998 grants will bring those totals to over 400 grants totaling approximately $75 million. In December of last year, the Justice Department and the Office of National Drug Control Policy jointly funded a National Drug Court Institute to provide training, education and other support for drug courts around the nation.

A list of grantees, contacts, and the amounts that will be awarded is attached. To obtain additional information about the drug court program or other OJP programs, please visit OJP's web site at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

OJP 98-139

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