[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[January 12, 1998]
[Pages 40-41]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Memorandum on Ending Drug Use and Drug Availability for Offenders
January 12, 1998

Memorandum for the Attorney General

Subject: Zero Tolerance for Drug Use and Drug Availability for Offenders

    Crime rates in this country have dropped significantly for 5 years, 
and the number of Americans who have used drugs is down nearly 50 
percent from its peak 15 years ago. Also, drug-related murders have 
dropped to their lowest point in a decade, and recent drug use surveys 
indicate that--for the first time in years--teen drug use is leveling 
off, and in some instances, modestly decreasing. All of this news is 
    Nonetheless, much more can and needs to be done to continue to bring 
down drug use and increase public safety. With more than half the 
offenders in our criminal justice system estimated to have a substance 
abuse problem, enforcing coerced abstinence within the criminal justice 
system is critical to breaking the cycle of crime and drugs. My 
Administration consistently has promoted testing offenders and requiring 
treatment as a means of reducing recidivism and drug-related crime. We 
have worked to expand the number of Drug Courts throughout the country, 
increase the number of Federal arrestees and prisoners who are tested 
and treated for drugs, and launched an innovative ``Breaking the Cycle'' 
initiative, which is a rigorous program of testing, treatment, 
supervision, and sanctions for offenders at all stages of the criminal 
justice process. And under your leadership, the Federal Bureau of 
Prisons provides models of excellence in drug detection, inmate testing, 
and drug treatment.
    We can do still more to enforce coerced abstinence among State 
prisoners, probationers, and parolees. When a drug user ends up in a 
State prison, we have a chance to break his or her addiction. Convicted 
offenders who undergo drug testing and treatment while incarcerated and 
after release are approximately twice as likely to stay drug- and crime-
free as those offenders who do not receive testing and treatment. But 
when drug use inside prisons is ignored, the demand for drugs runs high. 
In this environment, correction officials struggle to keep their

[[Page 41]]

prisons drug-free. Often drugs are smuggled in by visitors; sometimes 
even by compromised correctional staff.
    To maintain order in our prisons, to make effective treatment 
possible, and to reduce drug-related crime, we cannot tolerate drug use 
and trafficking within the Nation's prisons. Thus, I direct you to:
    (1) Amend the guidelines requiring States receiving Federal prison 
construction grants to submit plans for drug testing, intervention, and 
treatment to include a requirement that States also submit a baseline 
report of their prison drug abuse problem. In every subsequent year, 
States will be required to update and expand this information in order 
to measure the progress they are making towards ridding their 
correctional facilities of drugs and reducing drug use among offenders 
under criminal justice supervision.
    (2) Draft and transmit to the Congress legislation that will permit 
States to use their Federal prison construction and substance abuse 
treatment funds to provide a full range of drug testing, drug treatment, 
and sanctions for offenders under criminal justice supervision.
    (3) In consultation with States, draft and transmit to the Congress 
legislation that requires States to enact stiffer penalties for drug 
trafficking into and within correctional facilities.

                                                      William J. Clinton