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THURSDAY, JUNE 3, 1999202/307-0703


MIAMI, FLORIDA--The Justice Department announced today that it will provide more than $14 million to 147 jurisdictions to expand, enhance or plan drug courts to treat nonviolent, substance-abusing offenders. The grants were announced today at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals annual conference in Miami, Florida.

"Drug courts are one of the cornerstones of President Clinton's proposed Zero Tolerance Initiative because they work," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "I've seen first hand here in Miami how a drug court can use its influence and authority to direct a nonviolent drug abuser to change behavior and lead a productive, drug-free life."

Earlier this year, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), which administers the Drug Court grant program, provided nearly $20 million to approximately 70 jurisdictions that applied for drug court implementation grants in Fiscal Year 1998. These additional implementation awards were made this fiscal year because the Justice Department did not have sufficient funds in FY 1998 for all of the proposals deemed worthy of funding.

The President's new crime bill reauthorizes the Drug Court program, which was initially funded in the President's 1994 Crime Act.

Since the program's inception in FY 1995, OJP has made approximately 500 grants totaling more than $100 million to help jurisdictions plan, implement, enhance or evaluate drug courts. There are now more than 350 drug courts operating in the United States--a number whichhas increased from approximately 30 when OJP's program started in FY 1995. In addition, there are more than 200 drug courts in the planning stages. For the first time, there is drug court activity in all 50 states. At least 14 states have enacted legislation that authorizes or funds drug courts, and several states are considering such measures.

"I'm proud to announce that to date more 140,000 offenders have enrolled in drug courts to receive the supervision and treatment they need to stop abusing drugs and committing crimes. Also, more than 3,500 parents have been able to regain custody of their children as a result of their participation in a drug courts program," said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Noel Brennan. "In addition, more than 4,500 parents have become current in their child support payments after participating in a drug court program."

A list of grantees, contacts and the amounts that will be awarded is attached. In addition, summaries are available describing how each grantee receiving an enhancement or continuation grant will use the funds. Additional information on OJP and its programs is available at:

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After Hours Contact Doug Johnson at 1-888/491-4487 (pager)

OJP 99-125