Larsen Congratulates Washington State Drug Courts for their Life-Saving, Cost-Effective Work

May 22, 2008

Washington, D.C.— U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representative today in recognition of National Drug Court Month. Larsen congratulated Washington state drug courts for their life-saving and cost-effective work, and drug court graduates for beating addiction and turning their lives around. 

Larsen, who co-chairs the House Caucus to Fight and Control Methamphetamine, has worked in Congress to support the work of local drug courts with a strong and consistent investment of federal dollars. For the last two fiscal years, the President has zeroed out the Drug Court program in the budget request he has sent to Congress.  Last year, Larsen worked with his colleagues in the House and succeeded in restoring $40 million in drug court funding in the Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) appropriations bill. Under threat of a Presidential veto, this was reduced to $15.2 million in the final funding bill which passed Congress and was signed into law.

For the next fiscal year, Larsen continues to push for $40 million in funding for the Drug Court program. On March 18, Larsen sent a letter signed by over 100 of his House colleagues to the CJS Subcommittee urging them to restore $40 million of federal grant money for drug courts across the country. 

Congressman Larsen’s remarks as prepared for delivery follow:

“I stand today in recognition of National Drug Court Month and the important work done by drug courts in my district and around the country. 

“Drug courts combine intense judicial supervision and comprehensive treatment in a community wide approach to rehabilitation.  They bring together teams of judges, attorneys, treatment providers, child advocates, and law enforcement officers.  Their tireless work gives non-violent offenders a second chance to get clean and take back their lives. 

“In my district, drug court programs have enhanced public safety, saved taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, saved lives.  Since 1999, the Snohomish County Drug Court in Everett, Washington has graduated over 300 participants of whom 94% have remained clean.

“Drug courts are widely recognized as the most effective solution for reducing crime and recidivism among drug-addicted offenders. They come at a fraction of the cost of standard incarceration, and they work.  It is our responsibility at the federal level to provide the funds necessary to ensure that their services are available to the people that need them.

“Congratulations to the dedicated drug court professionals and graduates from Washington state and around the country on a job well done, and thank you all for your hard work and dedication.”