Justice Department Awards $96 Million to Fund Drug and Veterans Treatment Courts

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs today announced that it has awarded more than $96 million to fund specialized drug courts and veterans treatment courts. These courts provide treatment instead of detention for nonviolent juveniles, veterans and adults who have been criminally charged and who have a substance use disorder. The awards are part of more than $340 million in OJP grants awarded in October to fight America’s addiction crisis.

“My years interacting with drug-involved offenders as a state judge gave personal validation to the findings of researchers – drug courts have enormous potential to reduce crime, curb abuse and change lives,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “I’m so proud to make these important investments in strategies that have been shown to improve public safety and deliver badly-needed treatment resources to those, like our nation’s veterans, who have been caught up in a cycle of crime and addiction.”

The first American drug court system began in 1989 in Miami-Dade, Florida, in response to the crack cocaine epidemic. Drug courts there and elsewhere have demonstrated that they reduce recidivism and substance abuse among high-risk, high-need participants and increase their likelihood of successful rehabilitation. There are now more than 4,000 drug courts throughout the United States. In addition, more than 350 veterans treatment courts now serve over 15,000 American veterans.

OJP has funded several fiscal year 2020 drug court programs, including the Adult Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court Discretionary Grant Program administered by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. More than $57 million is being distributed under this program, which provides financial assistance to states, state courts, local courts, units of local government and tribal governments to develop, implement and enhance drug courts. BJA also awarded more than $12 million for related training and technical assistance. BJA awarded $2.6 million to fund the National Community Courts Site-based and Training and Technical Assistance Initiative, which supports community court grantees and practitioners in developing effective responses to low-level and non-violent offenses and address substance abuse, including opioid use.

OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention funded the Family Drug Court Program with more than $19 million to build the capacity of states, state and local courts, units of local government and federally recognized tribal governments to sustain existing family drug courts or establish new ones. These courts serve parents who require treatment for a substance abuse disorder and who are involved with the child welfare system as a result of child abuse or neglect.

The Family Drug Court awards will fund two areas. The first area will expand treatment services for parents in existing family drug courts, which include screening, assessment, case management, recovery support and program coordination. The second area will enhance or expand family drug court treatment at the state and county levels to more effectively serve families affected by opioid, stimulant and other substance use disorders.

More than $5 million from OJJDP funded the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Program to provide resources to state, local and tribal governments to create and enhance juvenile drug treatment court programs for youth in the justice system who are substance abusers, with a specific focus on opioid abuse. The Category 1 grants will be used for jurisdictions where no juvenile drug court currently exists or has been operational for less than a year. Category 2 grants will support jurisdictions with a fully operational juvenile drug treatment court.

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