FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2002                                                            202/307-0703





WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General John Ashcroft announced today that an Alabama jurisdiction will receive $447,146 to support drug courts.  The Alabama award was among 94 grants totaling $34.19 million to plan, establish or improve drug courts for nonviolent, substance-abusing, adult and juvenile offenders.  Thirty-one states, including Alabama, and 2 territories will receive the funds.


The drug court grants, awarded by the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), are part of the Administration’s efforts to stop drug addiction and break the cycle of crime often associated with substance abuse.


“Drug courts are a valuable tool for communities fighting substance abuse and drug-related crime,” said Attorney General Ashcroft.  “Through intensive judicial supervision, drug treatment and graduated sanctions, drug courts are holding nonviolent drug offenders accountable, while helping them to lead productive lives.”


Within Alabama, the Shelby County Commission in Columbiana will receive $447,146 to implement a drug court.  Information describing how this jurisdiction will use the funds is available on OJP’s Website at


Since 1989, more than 1,000 jurisdictions have established or are planning to establish a drug court, which is a specially designed court calendar or docket.  Currently, every state either has a drug court or is planning a drug court.


Drug court participants must take frequent drug tests and meet regularly with their judges.  Drug court judges monitor offenders’ treatment regimens and impose graduated sanctions, including incarceration, on those who do not comply. Participants are expected to stay in treatment and may be ordered to participate in educational, vocational or community service activities.  Offenders who graduate from drug court programs may have their charges dismissed or sentences reduced. 


“Local groups of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, treatment professionals and law enforcement officials are using the power of the criminal justice system to alter criminal behavior among nonviolent drug offenders,” added Ashcroft. 


Nationally, sixty-six jurisdictions will receive grants ranging from $159,211 up to $500,000 to implement new drug courts. Eighteen courts will receive grants ranging from $31,222 up to $300,000 to enhance their existing programs or to support statewide drug court activity.  Another 10 tribal jurisdictions will receive up to $30,000 to plan drug courts.


Drug court grant recipients are required by law to serve only nonviolent offenders.  Since 1995, OJP has awarded more than $160 million to approximately 600 communities to support the planning, implementation or enhancement of an adult, juvenile, family, tribal or DUI drug court.


In addition to awarding grant funding, OJP will provide training on planning adult,

juvenile or family drug courts through its 2002 Drug Court Planning Initiative (DCPI). 

Approximately 1,600 state and local representatives from more than 120 jurisdictions will participate in three separate training workshops (a total of 65 workshops) to plan a drug court.  From 1995 through 2001, 503 communities completed the planning training programs.  Of these communities, 281 have implemented a drug court and 217 are currently planning to implement a drug court.


More information about the Drug Courts Program and other OJP programs is available on OJP’s website at





After hours contact: Linda Mansour on 202/616-3534