March 14, 2022

Whitehouse and Cornyn Secure Funding Boost to Fight Substance Use in Jails & Prisons

$40 million for RSAT programs continues the pair’s bipartisan success on corrections reform

Washington, DC – Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and John Cornyn (R-TX) applauded the $40 million appropriated to fund the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) for State Prisoners Program in the FY 2022 government funding bill. This $6 million funding increase from FY 2021 will strengthen a key program which aims to break the cycle of substance use for those in state, local, and tribal correctional facilities.

“Those who are walking the long and noble path to recovery deserve our full support. Incarcerated individuals on that path are less likely to reoffend if we ensure continued access to care once back in their communities,” said Whitehouse. “Senator Cornyn and I fought for this funding to improve our corrections systems and reduce the chance of relapse and recidivism.”

“It’s imperative we divert incarcerated individuals with substance abuse problems to treatment and recovery programs so they can build better lives and earn second chances,” said Cornyn. “I’m proud to support this bill and will continue working to bring smart reforms to our jails and prisons around the country.”

RSAT funds programs that provide residential substance abuse treatment for people in jails and prisons; prepares people to return home by incorporating reentry planning activities into treatment programs; and assists individuals and their communities through the reentry process by delivering community-based treatment and other services.

Whitehouse and Cornyn championed legislation in the Senate to strengthen RSAT. Last March, they introduced the bipartisan Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act of 2021, which would update RSAT to:

  • Expand options for treating substance use disorders by explicitly allowing programs to adopt and use approved medication-assisted treatments;
  • Require program staff to be trained on the science of addiction, strategies for continuity of care during and after incarceration, and evidence-based behavioral therapies used to treat substance use disorder;
  • Ensure that programs are affiliated with providers who can administer medications for addiction treatment after incarceration, ensuring continuity of care and reducing the risk of relapse and overdose; and
  • Allow grantees to use RSAT funds to offer treatment to individuals during short periods of incarceration.

Their bill passed the Senate last August. It is supported by: National Criminal Justice Association, National Association of Social Workers, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), Major County Sheriffs of America, National Police Foundation, National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, The National Council for Behavioral Health, Dismas Charities Inc., Center for Court Innovation, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Westcare Foundation International, Community Corrections Association, Correctional Leaders Association, American Psychological Association, National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, and National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

The funding boost continues Whitehouse and Cornyn’s bipartisan success on prison reform and reentry legislation in the Senate. The senators authored the sections of the 2018 First Step Act law that help low-risk individuals earn credit toward their release through programs proven to reduce the risk of reoffending, including substance use treatment.

Rich Davidson (Whitehouse), 202-228-6291

Drew Brandewie (Cornyn), 202-224-0704

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921