Supports Mayors Call for Drug Testing and Treatment in Prisons as Part
of Crime Agenda
In a major campaign
speech in Atlanta on May 2, Vice President Al Gore outlined his anti-crime
and drugs agenda.
The broad policy
contains a call for a "Get-Clean-to-Get-Out, Stay-Clean-to-Stay-Out Policy"
related to drugs and the criminal justice system.
According to available
information, Gore would create a matching grant program for states and
localities to help systematically test, treat and sanction probationers,
prisoners and parolees.
Gore said he would also
expand the number of drug courts and fight for tougher drug penalties.
Increased funding for drug courts is strongly supported by the Conference of
In explaining his
policy, Gore said, "We have to stop that revolving door, once and for all.
First of all, we have to test prisoners for drugs while they are in jail -
and break up the drug rings inside our prison system. Most Americans find it
hard to believe that drug use continues inside prison walls, but shockingly,
it does. We have to expand drug treatment within our prisons; according to
one recent study, treatment is about ten times more effective in reducing
serious crime than today's approaches. And we have to insist on more prison
time for those who don't break the habit."
"I believe we should
make prisoners a simple deal: before you get out of jail, you have to get
clean. And if you want to stay out, then you'd better stay clean," Gore
Gore also said, "We
should do even more to make sure that when criminals leave jail, they leave
a life of crime behind. We should impose strict supervision of those who
have just been released - and insist that they obey the law and stay off
drugs. In return, we should help them make it in the workplace."
The U.S. Conference of
Mayors A New Agenda for America's Cities, developed under the leadership of
President Wellington E. Webb of Denver, strongly supports drug testing and
treatment for prisoners.
In commenting on Gore's
announcement, Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin, chair of the Conference's Criminal
Justice Committee, said, "I am pleased that the Vice President shares our
belief that every prisoner should be required to pass a drug test prior to
release back into our communities, and continue to be tested while on
probation or parole. For years, mayors have stressed the need to clean up
our nation's prisons, and provide treatment to persons in the criminal
"Through such a policy,
we can make our communities safer and save taxpayers' money," Griffin
The Conference of Mayors
is currently supporting legislation introduced by Missouri Senator John
Ashcroft (S 2008) which would require every person leaving federal prison to
pass a drug test prior to release. The Clinton Administration has not yet
expressed a position on this priority legislation.
Following are highlights
of Vice President Gore's crime and drug agenda: