THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON ANNOUNCES INITIATIVES TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF CRIME AND DRUGS January 5, 1999
Today, President Clinton will announce significant budget initiatives to help break the cycle of crime and drugs. The President will announce new resources to help states and localities systematically test, treat, and sanction drug-involved offenders -- including $215 million in his FY 2000 budget proposal to enforce "zero tolerance" for drug use by prisoners, parolees, and probationers.
A new Department of Justice report, also released today, shows that in 1997 more than three-quarters of the nation's prisoners reported past drug use, more than half reported using drugs in the month before their offense, and one in six committed their crimes so they could purchase drugs.
The President's initiative responds to these findings.
Prisoner Drug Use. Today the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics will release a new study on prisoner drug use (Substance Abuse and Treatment, State and Federal Prisoners, 1997). Key findings regarding prisoner drug use include:
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 --considerably more than the 21 percent of state prisoners and 60 percent of federal prisoners who are serving time for drug offenses. In addition, 57 percent of state prisoners and 45 percent of federal prisoners reported using drugs in the month before their arrest. Many prisoners commit crimes to buy drugs or while on drugs. Nearly 20 percent of state prisoners and 15 percent of federal inmates reported committing their offense to get money to buy drugs. Thirty-three 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. Although federal drug offenders generally reported less severe criminal histories, 59 percent had prior criminal records.
New Resources for " Zero Tolerance" Drug Supervision. The President will announce measures to ensure that the criminal justice system operates to keep offenders drug-and crime-free: (1) $215 million in his FY 2000 budget proposal -- an increase of about $100 million -- to drug-test and treat more people under criminal justice supervision; and (2) the availability of about $120 million already appropriated for FY 1999 to help make prisoners and parolees drug-free.
(1) $215 million for the most comprehensive drug supervision ever. The President's FY 2000 budget will include $215 million for drug supervision, including an increase of about $100 million for a proposed new program to help states and localities implement tough new systems to drug-test, treat, and punish prisoners, parolees, and probationers. This initiative will ensure that states fully implement the comprehensive plans to drug-test prisoners and parolees that they are required by law to submit to the Justice Department. The initiative will also support the efforts of states like Maryland and Connecticut to begin drug testing probationers on a regular basis. The President's FY 2000 budget also will include $50 million -- an increase of 25 percent -- to expand the number of local drug courts and $65 million for residential drug treatment in state prisons. (2) About $120 million this year for drug-free prison initiatives. The President will announce the release of the following grants to ensure that states fully implement their comprehensive plans for prison drug testing, treatment, and sanctions: --Up to $50 million for prison drug testing and intervention. Today the Justice Department will release new guidance informing states that they can use up to 10 percent of their prison construction funds (Violent Offender Incarceration/Truth-in- Sentencing grants) to drug-test and treat prisoners and parolees. Last year, President Clinton called on Congress to give the states this flexibility, and he fought for it to be included in the final budget agreement. --$63 million for residential drug treatment in state prisons. The Justice Department also will announce the availability of $63 million for state prisons to provide long-term drug treatment and intensive supervision for prisoners with the most serious drug problems. --$6 million for new Drug-Free Prison initiatives. The President will announce that the Office of National Drug Control Policy will award $6 million in grants to help eight states (AL, AZ, CA, FL, KS, MD, NJ, NY) and the Federal Bureau of Prisons make and keep their prisons drug-free. These grants will support surveillance systems, drug-sniffing K-9 teams, advanced technologies for drug detection, and other efforts to detect and deter drug use in prisons.
A Record of Accomplishment.
Pushed for drug testing and intervention in all states. The President fought for and signed the legislation requiring states to drug test prisoners and parolees as a condition for receiving prison grants. As a result, states were required to put in place comprehensive drug-testing and intervention plans for prisoners and parolees. Expanded testing and treatment in federal prisons. The President has promoted drug testing and treatment in the federal prison system. In 1998, federal prisoners were subjected to nearly 133,000 drug tests. Additionally, the number of inmates required to receive treatment increased by fourfold from 5,450 in FY 1993 to 21,995 in FY 1998. Leading the national drug court effort. Under the President's leadership, the number of drug courts has increased from an estimated 12 in 1994 to more than 400 today. Drug courts provide frequent drug testing, treatment, and tough supervision, and have been shown to reduce recidivism substantially. ###