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BJA's Justice Today

May is National Drug Court Month

Dear friends,

Happy National Drug Court Month! This is my sixth time celebrating the unparalleled success of drug courts and other treatment courts as the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). And each year, we have more and more to celebrate.

There are now nearly 3,000 adult and juvenile drug courts, family dependency treatment courts, DWI courts, veterans treatment courts, and tribal healing to wellness courts in the United States, and the number of people in need served by these courts is now over 150,000. These courts represent criminal justice reform in action, daily changing the face of our criminal justice system by offering our most seriously addicted citizens a public health approach that reduces crime, recidivism, and the prison population; lifts families out of generational drug abuse; returns our veterans to productive, heroic lives of service in the community; and uses valuable taxpayer dollars in a way that forever breaks the cycles of crime and addiction.

We know that as a direct result of the expansion of these courts across the country, thousands of lives are being saved. Countless crimes prevented. More families reunited and made whole. More babies born drug-free. More education achieved and more employment gained. All of this is due to the incredible dedication and relentless compassion of the people who make our treatment courts work every day. You refuse to give up on our neighbors and coworkers facing the disease of addiction; our friends and family members struggling with substance abuse; our veterans returning home after service in our military and dealing with mental health issues like PTSD. You demonstrate to the rest of the nation that these are lives worth fighting for, and you inspire me every day.

As a former federal prosecutor, I understand this fight. As the director of BJA, I believe in the life-altering, evidence-based practices of drug courts, and so do our country’s leaders. With support from this Administration, as well as unique, broad bipartisan support in Congress, BJA was able to award millions of dollars to support these programs in 2015. I am proud to pledge BJA’s continued partnership and resources to this movement in 2016.

This month, as you hold special graduation ceremonies, and educate your stakeholders and communities on the need for continued support for, and accomplishments of treatment courts, know that BJA stands behind you.

Thank you,

Denise O’Donnell
Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance

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