The Department of Justice began supporting drug courts over 25 years ago. Through the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Congress first authorized the Attorney General to make grants to states, state courts, local courts, units of local government, and federally recognized Indian tribal government to establish drug courts. In 1995, the Office of Justice Programs established the Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program, occurring just 6 years after the implementation of the nation’s first drug court in Miami, Florida. This work was merged into the Bureau of Justice Assistance in 2003.
The Adult Drug Court Grant Program supports state, local, and tribal efforts to plan, implement, and enhance the operations of adult drug courts, which are specialized dockets and coordinated approaches that address the needs of nonviolent justice-involved individuals with substance use disorders. These courts effectively integrate evidence-based substance use treatment, mandatory drug testing, incentives and sanctions, and transitional services in judicially supervised court settings to reduce recidivism and substance use.