FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEOJP
Monday, September 18, 2000202/307-0703

JUSTICE PRISON DRUG TREATMENT FUNDING ECLIPSES $200 MILLION

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department announced today that it will make awards to all 50 states and eligible territories totaling more than $57 million to continue providing substance abuse treatment to offenders at state and local correctional facilities. The grants are being made under the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) for State Prisoners program, which was originally authorized in Crime Act of 1994, and has allowed the Department to provide more than $230 million to the states and territories since 1996.

New legislation introduced in the Senate, the Offender Reentry and Community Safety Act of 2000 (S.2908), would extend the program's authorization through 2006 and increase the annual funding level to $100 million-almost twice the program's current authorized level, as well as provide treatment for offenders returning to their communities.

"Treatment for drug-abusing offenders works-but we need to go beyond just treatment while they're incarcerated," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "RSAT is an excellent start, but we need to expand our efforts to help offenders successfully return to their communities through continued treatment and efforts like the Department's Reentry Initiative."

Under its reentry initiative established in 1999, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is providing technical assistance to17 states and local jurisdictions working on reentry programs to help offenders successfully reintegrate into their communities after release from prison or jail.

The legislation extending the RSAT authorization would also allow RSAT funds to be used to continue treatment and monitoring of offenders as they return to their communities and includes language authorizing the Attorney General to make grants of up to $1 million for State and Local Reentry Partnerships and grants of up to $500,000 for State and Local Reentry Courts. Currently, RSAT funds cannot be used for aftercare, which continues to link offenders released from incarceration to the critical support they need to remain drug- and crime-free.

"More than 500,000 prisoners are released into our communities each year," said OJP Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary. "We must do all we can to ensure that these individuals reentering our communities go back drug-free and stay crime-free, which ultimately, will make our streets safer."

A study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse reports that 80 percent of the 1.7 million adults incarcerated at the time of the study were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when arrested, stole property to buy drugs or had a history of drug and alcohol abuse. A study sponsored by OJP's Corrections Program Office (CPO) in 1997, which administers the RSAT program, indicates that approximately 70 to 80 percent of all state prison inmates are in need of substance abuse treatment. However, only a fraction of the substance-abusing offenders in the nation's correctional facilities have access to treatment. The CPO study further reported that on average about 12.7 percent of the inmates in the states surveyed were receiving treatment on any given day, and only about 15.3 percent complete a prescribed substance abuse treatment program prior to release from confinement.

In FY 1999, states and eligible territories received grants totaling $57.8 million; in FY 1998, states and eligible territories received approximately $59.3 million; in FY 1997, states and eligible territories received approximately $27.7 million; and in FY 1996, states and eligible territories received approximately $24.7 million.

Individual summaries are available that describe how each state will use its FY 2000 RSAT funds and provide a state point of contact. Copies of these summaries can be obtained by going to http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/cpo and clicking on "What's New." Additional information about OJP and its programs is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

# # #

For additional information call 202/307-0703

OJP-00184