The discontinuous deformation analysis (DDA) is a discontinuum-based method, which employs a penalty method to represent the contact between blocks. The penalty method is easy to be implemented in the program, but the contact constraint is only approximately satisfied. Penetrations between contacting blocks are unavoidable even if the penalty value is very large. To improve the contact precision in the DDA, an augmented Lagrangian method is introduced, which can make use of advantages of both the Lagrangian multiplier method and the penalty method. This paper provides a detailed implementation of the augmented Lagrangian method in the DDA program and compares it with the standard DDA on the computational efficiency and contact precision. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.