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January 5, 1999

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As we begin a new century and a new millennium, we have a remarkable opportunity to harness all the resources of our criminal justice system -- our courts, prisons, prosecutors, probation officers, and police -- to break the drug habits of our prisoners, and break the cycle of drugs and crime for all time. Let us seize it.

President Bill Clinton
January 5, 1999

Today at the White House, President Clinton will announce new resources to help states and localities test, treat, and sanction drug-involved offenders, including resources to enforce zero tolerance for drug use by prisoners, parolees, and probationers. The President will also release a report showing that drug use remains high among our nation's prisoners.

President Clinton Announces New Resources To Reduce Drug Use. The President is announcing new measures to ensure that the criminal justice system operates to keep offenders drug- and crime-free:

  • $215 Million for the most comprehensive drug supervision ever. The President's fiscal year 2000 budget will include $100 million to help states and localities implement tough new systems to drug test, treat, and punish prisoners, parolees, and probationers. In addition, the President is asking for $50 million to expand the number of drug courts and $65 million for residential drug treatment in state prisons;
  • Roughly $120 Million for drug-free prison initiatives. The President will announce the availability or release of the following grants to ensure that states fully implement their comprehensive plans for prison drug testing, treatment and sanctions: (1) Up to $50 million for prison drug testing and intervention; (2) Up to $63 million for residential drug treatment in state prisons; and (3) $6 million for new Drug-Free Prison Initiatives to support surveillance systems, drug-sniffing K-9 teams, advanced technologies for drug detection, and other efforts to detect and deter drug use in prisons.

Targeting The Problem Of Drug Use In Our Prisons. Today, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics will release Substance Abuse and Treatment, State and Federal Prisoners, 1997, a study on prisoner drug use. Key findings of this study include:

  • The Vast Majority Of All Prisoners Report Drug Use. In 1997, 83 percent of state prisoners and 73 percent of federal prisoners reported past drug use. In addition, 57 percent of state prisoners and 45 percent of federal prisoners reported using drugs in the month prior to their arrest;
  • Many Prisoners Commit Crimes To Buy Drugs Or While High. Nearly 20 percent of state prisoners and 15 percent of federal inmates reported committing their offenses to get money to buy drugs, and 33 percent of state prisoners and 22 percent of federal prisoners were actually under the influence of drugs at the time of their offense;
  • Drug Offenders Have Long "Rap Sheets". State prisoners serving sentences for drug offenses reported extensive criminal histories: 76 percent had been previously sentenced to prison or probation; 54 percent were on probation or parole at the time of their arrest; 45 percent had three or more prior sentences; and 23 percent had previously committed a violent crime. In addition, 59 percent of federal drug offenders had prior criminal records.

Building On A Record Of Accomplishment. Today's announcements build on the President's commitment to reducing drug use in prisons and get tough on prisoners who abuse drugs. The President fought for and signed legislation requiring states to drug test prisoners and parolees as a condition for receiving prison grants, expanded testing and treatment programs in federal prisons, and has lead the national drug court effort, expanding the number of drug courts from 12 in 1994 to over 400 today

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