-- U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and five other senators today called on Senate leadership to provide critical support to the nation's drug courts. In a bipartisan letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the senators noted that drug courts, which require nonviolent, drug-addicted offenders to remain under close judicial supervision while undergoing treatment, have a proven track record of effectiveness and have been cited as the nation's most fiscally responsible method for dealing with substance abusing offenders.
"As a former prosecutor, I know firsthand the dangers that drugs pose to individuals, families, and the community,"Klobuchar said. "Drug courts help non-violent offenders receive the treatment they need while also saving taxpayers money and helping to reduce crime."
"Drug crimes remain a significant issue for our judicial system," said Wicker. "Drug courts have proven to be an important and effective tool for prosecutors and judges in Mississippi, and their continued success will benefit communities across the country."
Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Kent Conrad (D-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Susan Collins (R-ME) also signed the letter.
In December, 2011 the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report on drug courts that suggests that such courts save an average of $6,000 per participant and may reduce crime by up to 58%. Research also shows that about 60% of drug court clients complete at least 12 months of treatment, while just 10% of probationers and parolees do so.
As Hennepin County Attorney, Klobuchar made it a priority to get dangerous drugs off the streets, working with law enforcement to crackdown on the manufacturing, trafficking, and selling of illegal drugs. Last year, Klobuchar received the "All Rise Leadership Award" from the National Association of Drug Courts Professional for her continued support of drug courts.
The full text of the letter is below.
September 18, 2012
The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison
Chairwoman Ranking Member
CJS Subcommittee CJS Subcommittee
Committee on Appropriations Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Chairwoman Mikulski and Ranking Member Hutchison:
We appreciate that you and other members of the Appropriations Committee confront a particularly difficult budgetary climate and must make some very tough decisions in the coming months. In such a challenging climate, we encourage you to continue to lend your support to programs, such as drug courts and veterans' treatment courts, which have a proven track record of being both effective and an efficient use of taxpayer resources.
The nation's over 2,600 drug courts--which require nonviolent, drug addicted offenders to remain in treatment and undergo random drug testing while under intensive judicial supervision--have been cited as the nation's most fiscally responsible method for dealing with substance abusing offenders. The Conference of Chief Justices, which represents our highest state judicial officers, characterizes drug courts as "the most effective strategy for reducing drug use and criminal recidivism among criminal offenders."
In December, 2011, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report on Drug Courts that confirmed Drug Courts save an average of $6,000 per participant and reduce crime by up to 58%. Research also shows that about 60% of drug court clients complete at least 12 months of treatment, while just 10% of probationers and parolees do so.
Veterans' treatment courts offer a similarly promising strategy for responding to former soldiers who suffer from serious mental health issues and substance abuse or dependency issues. These innovative courts offer veterans who come into contact with the criminal justice system a chance to complete treatment and get their lives back on track.
In closing, we hope that you will help support the important work of drug courts and veterans' treatment courts by supporting the House-passed level of funding for these programs in this year's appropriations negotiations. Thank you for your consideration of our request.