Mayor Griffin Calls for All Prisoners to Pass Drug Tests Prior to Release
Mayor Jeff Griffin, Chair of the Criminal and Social Justice Committee of
The U.S. Conference of Mayors, participated in a plenary discussion during
the National Assembly on Drugs, Alcohol Abuse, and the Criminal Offender
on Tuesday, November 7 in Washington, DC. The meeting was sponsored by the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice and
the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and attended by
hundreds of criminal justice practitioners and experts from across the
his remarks, Mayor Griffin expand on the Conference's call for a
comprehensive strategy to attack the problem of drugs in the criminal
justice system which includes:
start this initiative, the nation's mayors are calling on the federal
government to require that every person leaving a federal prison pass a
addition, the mayors are seeking a partnership with the states to ensure
that every person leaving prison or jail for release back into the
community pass a drug test.
Mayor Griffin has stated, "what kind of message are we sending to our
communities if we cannot, at a bare minimum, ensure that on the day of
release, a person does not test positive for drug use.
added, "It is our hope that testing for drugs - which theoretically
should not be available to prisoners - will not simply punish those that
use while incarcerated, but rather help encourage addicted individuals to
seek treatment, and increase the incentive for the managers of the
criminal justice system to make quality treatment available."
Griffin's full statement can be found on the Conference's web site /uscm
Supports Greater Testing and Treatment
the same conference as Mayor Griffin, ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey
termed the current criminal justice system a "disaster" in that
it puts tens of thousands of drug offenders behind bars without providing
called for an end to the current policy of simply incarcerating addicts.
dominant approach of primarily incarcerating drug offenders has been a
failed social policy," McCaffrey said. "Our goal is to encourage
the expansion among federal, state and local jurisdictions of alternatives
to incarceration for nonviolent offenders."
an alternative, McCaffrey recommended "treatment for drug-dependent
offenders in all phases of the criminal justice system."
to U.S. Justice Department figures, 500,000 offenders are released from
state and community prisons each year without being treated for their
addictions. Furthermore, between 65 percent and 70 percent of all
untreated parolees with histories of cocaine and heroin use return to
drugs within three months of their release from jail.
for federal prisons, 26 out of 42 currently provide drug treatment
programs. However, the federal government has not yet adopted the
Conference supported policy of requiring a clean drug test prior to