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Today, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Director Karhlton F. Moore spoke at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) RISE conference. NADCP is the premier training, membership, and advocacy organization for the drug treatment court model. Its annual conference brings together public health and safety leaders from across the nation.
"We hear so much about the negative impact of substance use disorders, but the story of recovery is often lost in the conversation. The work you do is transforming this nation, saving lives, reuniting families, and making our communities safer," Moore commented.
BJA recognizes that there are many pathways to recovery, and it supports adult drug treatment courts which play a vital role in ensuring our justice system offers a public health approach. This approach is critical to sustainable recovery, which is why BJA will prioritize equity and access moving forward; equity for individuals of color accessing services from a BJA-funded drug treatment court program and increased access for veterans.
"We know that African Americans and Hispanic/Latinx are underrepresented in treatment courts and that African Americans, Hispanic/Latinx, and female participants are less likely than White males to graduate from treatment courts," Moore shared with the audience.
To address this underrepresentation, BJA will continue to support the expansion of the Office of National Drug Control Policy-funded Equity and Inclusion Assessment Tool. Also, BJA has plans to expand training in several areas to address this gap.
BJA's second priority, access for veterans, will focus on coordinating with the Department of Veterans Affairs to promote the use of the Veterans Reentry Search Service and Status Query and Response Exchange System (SQUARES) through its training and technical assistance (TTA) and veterans treatment court grant program.
In addition to outlining BJA's priorities, Director Moore shared with the audience how BJA can be of assistance. BJA oversees a range of TTA to the field to support the development and implementation of drug treatment courts, including training with NADCP on topics such as foundational training for jurisdictions planning a new treatment court. These trainings are available to grantees at no cost.
BJA funds approximately 400 active adult drug court and veterans treatment court programs and plans to make about 70 additional awards for treatment court programs this fall. BJA, drug treatment courts, and the many professionals at the RISE conference can continue to improve the response to substance use and mental health disorders nationwide.