Clinton Offers States More Anti-Drug Aid
He proposes a $200 million effort aimed at drug abuse inside prisons and among parolees
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 12) -- President Bill Clinton today signed an executive order designed to help states fight drug abuse among prison inmates and parolees, saying it's an "absolutely critical" part of controlling crime.
Clinton told an Oval Office gathering that four out of five state and federal prison inmates were either under the influence when they committed their crime, stole property to feed a drug habit, violated drug laws or have a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
"Parolees who stay on drugs are much more likely to commit crimes that will send them back to jail," Clinton said. "We have to break this vicious cycle." (512K wav sound)
The best way to break the link between drugs and crime, Clinton added, is to "break the drug habits of the prisoners."
The president said his order will help states expand their anti-drug programs by letting them use federal funds for detection of illegal drugs in prison and on prisoner testing and treatment. Clinton said he also wants to target drug trafficking behind prison walls, by increasing the penalties for people who smuggle drugs into prison.
Clinton said the money attached to the effort will be included in the balanced budget proposal he sends to Congress later this month.
"We can balance the budget and fight crime and drugs at same time," he said. "I know it can work."
Today's directive is a follow-up to a 1996 law that denies federal prison funds to states that do not give drug tests to prisoners and parolees. Those testing programs must be in place by this March.
Clinton's new budget will propose nearly $200 million in new spending to help states comply with the federal requirements, including:
- $85 million in grants to help states develop new drug-testing programs.
- $5 million for a smaller program to test youthful offenders for drug use.
- An increase of more than $10 million to help states pay for drug-treatment programs.
Clinton was joined for the announcement by Vice President Al Gore; Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and Assistant Attorney General Eric Holder, who called Clinton's proposal "fair and tough and smart."
CNN's John King contributed to this report.