|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||OJP||MONDAY, MAY 24, 1999||202/307-0703|
VICE PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO TREAT DRUG-ADDICTED OFFENDERS
WASHINGTON, D.C.--Vice President Al Gore announced today that states are receiving Justice Department grants totaling more than $57 million to continue providing treatment to offenders at state and local correctional facilities. The grants are being made by the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs under the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) for State Prisoners program.
"More than half of those behind bars have drug or alcohol problems," said Vice President Gore. "With these funds we're helping states run programs to help substance-abusing offenders beat drug habits and keep from committing additional crimes and returning to jail."
These grant awards come on the heels of President Clinton's announcement of his new Crime Bill. The new legislation, which was unveiled at a Rose Garden Ceremony on May 12, includes $100 million for the Zero Tolerance Drug Supervision initiative. The initiative creates a new competitive grant program to assist states and local and tribal governments develop and create comprehensive drug testing policies and practices for suspects and offenders as part of pretrial release, treatment in prison and treatment while on parole.
The President's Crime Bill also reauthorizes the RSAT program at $65 million and would allow states to use RSAT funds to provide critical aftercare to offenders as they reintegrate into their communities.
"Our efforts to help states treat substance-abusing offenders and break the cycle of drug use and crime are making a difference," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "By providing states with additional resources, we will be able to expand our successful zero tolerance programs."
The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that providing treatment to inmates during incarceration and after their prison stay can reduce recidivism by approximately 50 percent. Another study completed by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reports that treatment could lead to the reduction of 1 million crimes per year for every 10,000 drug-addicted inmates who stays off drugs and stops committing crimes after release.
Yet, only a fraction of the substance-abusing offenders in the nation's correctional facilities have access to much-needed treatment. A 1997 study sponsored by OJP's Corrections Program Office, which administers the RSAT program, shows that approximately 70 to 80 percent of all state prison inmates are in need of substance abuse treatment. However, 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.
"We have seen the states do a terrific job with this program--as far as it goes," said OJP Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson. "But, we need to be able to assist the states with the important next steps--keeping those same offenders in treatment and oversight as they return to their home environments."
This year all 50 states, the District of Columbia and eligible territories are receiving grants totaling $57.8 million under the RSAT program. In FY 1998 states and eligible territories received approximately $59.3 million; in FY 1997, state and eligible territories received approximately $27.7 million; and in FY 1996, states and eligible territories received approximately $24.7 million. The RSAT grants being announced today bring the four-year total to just over $173 million.
Individual summaries are available that describe how each state will use its FY 1999 RSAT funds, and provide a local point of contact. To obtain copies of these summaries, contact Doug Johnson or Sheila Jerusalem at 202/307-0703.
Additional information on OJP and its programs is available at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov
After Hours Contact Doug Johnson at 888/491-4487