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Stabenow, Colleagues Pass Legislation to Fully Fund Drug Courts

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Stabenow, Colleagues Pass Legislation to Fully Fund Drug Courts

$40 Million Will Fund Substance Abuse Treatment, Rehabilitation

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced that the Drug Court Discretionary Grant program will receive the full $40 million in the Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill funding to assist courts with substance abuse cases. Drug courts focus on treating drug users and transforming them into productive members of society through an intensive regimen of substance abuse treatment, case management, drug testing, supervision and monitoring, and immediate sanctions and incentives while reporting to regularly scheduled status hearings before a judge with expertise in the drug court model. The full funding comes on the heels of a two-year battle waged by Senator Stabenow and her Senate colleagues to increase FY2008 funding for the successful program.

"While law enforcement helps stem the problem of drug abuse in our communities, the treatment and rehabilitation of drug offenders remains a critical part of our strategy," said Stabenow. "Full funding of the Drug Court Discretionary Grant program is a major step in keeping our communities safe from crime and reducing the pervasiveness of drugs."

According to a decade of research, drug courts significantly improve substance abuse treatment outcomes, substantially reduce crime, reunite families, and produce greater cost benefits than any other justice strategy. In June 2005, the Justice Department credited drug courts with successfully addressing the issues of the methamphetamine-addicted population and being a critical part of the national methamphetamine strategy.

Recently, Michigan has been at the forefront of the drug court movement. In 1992, one of Michigan's first drug courts was established in Kalamazoo. In the six years since, the number of programs focused on drug treatment has increased over 200%. The state of Michigan currently has 76 drug courts which include: 32 adult drug courts, 19 DWI courts, 15 juvenile drug courts, six family dependency courts, and four tribal healing-to-wellness courts.

In April, Stabenow and Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) lead a bipartisan letter with 33 other Senators to the Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee on Appropriations. This raised the funding level from $10 million to $25 million. She later cosponsored an amendment which increased that funding to the full $40 million level budgeted in FY 2005. Stabenow has been recognized by law enforcement and legal organizations for her efforts to reduce crime.

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