Press Release

December 7, 1999

Tony Iallonardo

(202) 861-6772

Reno Mayor Griffin Calls for All Prisoners to Pass Drug Tests Prior to Release Back into Communities

WASHINGTON, DC -- Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin, Chair of the Criminal and Social Justice Committee of The U.S. Conference of Mayors, will participate in a plenary discussion during the National Assembly on Drugs, Alcohol Abuse, and the Criminal Offender on Tuesday, December 7. The meeting is being sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Mayor Griffin’s panel discussion will be held from 10:15 - 11:15am at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

During his remarks, Mayor Griffin will expand on the Conference’s call for a comprehensive strategy to attack the problem of drugs in the criminal justice system which includes:

  • increased efforts to keep drugs out of prisons and jails in the first place, with constant mandatory testing and monitoring of prisoners while in the system, including those on probation or parole;
  • increased provision of quality treatment in prisons and jails, and to persons on probation or parole; and
  • federal and state policies which require every prisoner to pass a drug test prior to release.

To start this initiative, the nation’s Mayors are calling on the federal government to require that every person leaving a federal prison pass a drug test.

In 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.

As 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.

Griffin 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."

A copy of Mayor Griffin’s full statement, as well as the latest policy resolution by the Conference of Mayors on this topic can be found on the Conference's web site, /pressreleases/documents/griffin_testimony.htm.

The U. S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,100 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor.