Monday, January 12, 1998

Breaking the Drug-Crime Link

Common sense tells us that the best way to break the cycle between drugs and criminal activity is to break the drug habits of our prisoners. That is why my Administration has made inmate testing and drug treatment a vital part of our anti-crime efforts... To inmates we are saying, "If you stay on drugs, you stay in jail." To parolees, we are saying, "If you want to keep your freedom, stay free of drugs."

President Bill Clinton
January 12, 1998

Today, President Clinton directed Attorney General Janet Reno to strengthen inmate drug testing and drug treatment efforts as part his ongoing anti-crime efforts. 80% of the inmates in state and federal prisoners were either high at the time they committed their crimes, stole property to buy drugs, violated drug or alcohol laws, or have a long history of drug and alcohol abuse. Today,s directive is a vital part of the President,s plan to break the drug-crime link and make our communities safer.

Breaking the drug habits of prisoners and parolees: In 1997, President Clinton fought for and signed into law a bill that promotes drug testing and treatment in state prisons. The law requires state prisons to test prisoners and parolees before receiving federal prison funds. Today,s directive strengthens these measures by calling for:

Expanded drug detection, offender testing and drug treatment. Legislation is called for that will permit states to use their federal prison funds to implement plans for drug testing and treatment of offenders in the criminal justice system, and that expands existing programs of training and technical assistance to help states improve their drug testing and treatment strategies;

Tougher penalties for smuggling drugs into prisons. Legislation is called for that enacts stricter penalties for drug trafficking into and within correctional facilities;

Tracking prison drug use and measuring progress. Changes in funding guidelines are called for that require states receiving federal prison grants to submit annual reports evaluating their prison drug abuse problems, so that progress towards ridding prisons of drugs can be better measured.

Building a safer America for our children. This directive is an important part of President Clinton,s agenda to reduce crime and increase safety for all Americans. Under his leadership, seizures of drugs have increased significantly, and overall drug use has fallen by half since its peak 15 years ago. The directive builds on the success of the President,s other anti-drug policies, including:

The largest anti-drug budgets ever. Year-in and year-out, President Clinton has proposed the largest anti-drug budgets ever. Between 1996 and 1998, resources for drug control increased by 19 percent, from $13.5 billion in FY 1996 to $16 billion in FY98. For example, resources increased for domestic law enforcement by 14 percent, international efforts by 68 percent, and interdiction by 22 percent;

A comprehensive national drug control strategy. This strategy will reduce illegal drug use through law enforcement, prevention, treatment, interdiction and international efforts. Building on this effort, the Administration is now putting in place a ten-year strategy to reduce drug use in America.

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