The RDAP Program, or Residential Drug Abuse Program, is the only program in the Bureau of Prisons that results in an administrative time cut. Anyone who anticipates a sentence to federal prison should learn about the RDAP Program.
The RDAP Program
When the federal government targets a person with criminal charges, the person must think about sentencing. More than 75% of the people that prosecutors charge face a judge and sentencing hearing. Once a federal judge sentences a person, it’s tough to make a change. The Bureau of Prisons offers one program that can advance the release date through administrative means. It’s known as the RDAP Program.
What is RDAP?
RDAP is an acronym for the Residential Drug Abuse Program. Those who successfully complete RDAP may receive a 12-month time cut. The amount of sentence-reduction depends on the length of the initial sentence.
Why Would the BOP Grant Early Release to Graduates of RDAP?
The data is very clear. People with substance-abuse problems are less likely to succeed upon release. Those who have substance abuse problems face challenges with employment. If they revert to drug abuse, they likely return to behaviors that lead to prison.
In the mid-1990s, legislators passed laws with hopes of improving outcomes of the criminal justice system. The lawmakers wanted people to work toward resolving their challenges with substance abuse before they completed their sentences.
To incentivize people that struggled with substance abuse, legislators included a provision in the law that authorized the Bureau of Prisons to grant administrative time cuts for people who completed substance-abuse training. Congress backed up the program with financial resources. Lawmakers provided funding of more than $500 million to start the Residential Drug Abuse Program.
The Residential Drug Abuse Program, typically, is a 500-hour program. Bureau of Prisons personnel teach the program in about nine months. During those nine months, people who qualify to participate in RDAP live in a dedicated housing unit. The housing unit is reserved for people who participate in RDAP. They attend classes together. They participate in exercises together.
How Has RDAP Evolved?
Over the first decade of its existence, the Residential Drug Abuse Program expanded throughout the Bureau of Prisons. Although the BOP doesn’t make RDAP available in every prison, prisoners that qualify can transfer to a prison where RDAP is available.
Ordinarily, staff members place people into RDAP as they approach the end of their sentences. In minimum-security camps, people get into RDAP when they are about 28 months away from the scheduled release dates. In higher security prisons, they may qualify for RDAP when they are further away from release.
Why is it Difficult to Qualify for RDAP?
As the RDAP Program expanded, administrators in the Bureau of Prisons made it more difficult to qualify. People who learned about the program wanted to participate. They may not have had substance-abuse problems. Instead, they simply wanted the 12-month time cut.
In response, the Bureau of Prisons created policies that would determine who would qualify for RDAP. To qualify, a person would need to document a history of substance abuse. That documentation would need to comply with strict timelines. A person would need to show that the problem with substance abuse existed within 12 months of the time or the person’s arrest. Further, they limited the time cuts.
How Do I Get a Diagnosis to Qualify for RDAP?
Any person facing charges in federal court should learn about RDAP, The sooner a person learns, the better. If a person wants an expert diagnosis to assess qualifications for RDAP, the person should learn credentials of the licensed treatment provider. Make sure the person understands the policy statements of the Bureau of Prisons. Our team relies upon a group of experts that were formerly employed by the Bureau of Prisons. If a person doesn’t have a qualified treatment provider, contact our team for guidance.
How Much Time Can A Person Get Cut From the Sentence?
In the beginning, every graduate of RDAP would qualify for a 12-month time cut. As the program evolved, the BOP made it more restrictive.
- To qualify for 12 months off of the release date, the person would need to have a sentence of at least 36 months.
- For a reduction of nine months, a person would need to have a sentence of at least 30 months.
- To qualify for a reduction of six months, a person would need to have a sentence of at least 24 months.
How Does a Person Document Substance Abuse?
Ordinarily, the Bureau of Prisons will rely upon the person’s self-reporting. But the self-reporting must take place prior to placement in the Bureau of Prisons. Consider the steps into the system:
- At the time of arrest, a person meets with an authority of the court. That person, ordinarily a pre-trial services officer, will ask the individual about substance abuse.
- Since people do not know about RDAP, they frequently say that they do not have a problem with substance abuse during that initial meeting. Such statements become a part of the permanent record. Those statements hurt eligibility for RDAP.
- The person proceeds through the criminal justice system. If there is a finding of guilt, the person will meet with a federal probation officer. The federal probation officer will complete a Pre-sentence Investigation Report (PSR).
- During the Pre-sentence Investigation, the probation officer will ask the person about substance abuse. The probation officer will record the person’s response. That response will show up in the pre-sentence investigation report.
- Bureau of Prisons officials will rely upon that PSR document to determine eligibility for the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP).
Problems with Qualifying for RDAP:
People who have never experienced the federal criminal justice system do not know about RDAP. Defense attorneys who do not have experience with the federal criminal justice system may not know about RDAP. As a result, many people fail to qualify for RDAP.
For many, people go into the criminal justice system with thoughts that they should hide their problems with substance abuse. When authority figures ask if people if they have a substance abuse issue, the people sometimes lie. If they admit to a problem with substance abuse, they mistakenly believe that the judge and other stakeholders will view them more harshly.
As a result, many people who come into the federal criminal justice system fail to populate the record appropriately. If they make too many mistakes, they may never qualify for RDAP. As a result, they fail to get the substance-abuse treatment they need. And they fail to qualify for the 12-month time cut.
Will Officials in the BOP Assist People in Correcting the Record so They Qualify for RDAP?
It’s best to go into the prison system with an open mind. Expect resistance at every turn from the system. Succeed anyway. Expect staff members to deny requests to participate in RDAP. They are cynical of white-collar offenders who want to participate in RDAP. Many officials believe that people want to participate in RDAP only to receive the 12-month time reduction.
Our team does not make a judgment call either way. We believe that everyone can improve their outcomes in the criminal justice system by understanding all of the policies. People should learn the advantages and disadvantages of participating in RDAP. They should determine whether it makes sense to document a record that would advance their prospects of qualifying for RDAP.
In RDAP, people can learn better critical thinking skills. They can learn how to make decisions that will improve their outcomes from the criminal justice system. Participants in RDAP can begin sowing seeds for a life of fulfillment and meaning. They can do so by overcoming their reliance on substance abuse of any kind. And if they can get out of prison 12 months earlier for going through such training, it’s a win-win.
What Type of Substance Abuse Qualifies a Person for RDAP?
People may qualify for participation in RDAP if they have a history, within a specified time period, of abusing any type of illicit drug. People also qualify for RDAP if they show a history of abusing alcohol. They qualify if they abuse prescription medications that include Valium, oxycodone, and other types of pain relievers. Our nation has a well-documented problem with opioid addictions. Some of those addictions begin with prescribed medications.
If someone is charged with a federal crime, that person should learn as much as possible. An important topic would be to learn about the presentence investigation report. Other topics include sentence mitigation techniques. And of course, it’s crucial to learn about steps to qualify for RDAP.
The sooner a person begins a methodical approach to learning, the more that person will understand. Take methodical steps to determine whether it makes sense to build a record that will qualify you for participation in the Residential Drug Abuse Program.
Our team at both ComplianceMitigation.com, and at PrisonProfessors.com, offers an abundance of free information that anyone can use to prepare for the journey ahead.
More Free Answers to Questions About RDAP
If my crime doesn’t have anything to do with drugs, why should I care about RDAP?
- RDAP is the only program in the federal criminal justice system that provides for an early release from prison through an administrative program.
What is an administrative program?
- An administrative program means that staff members in the Bureau of Prisons oversee the program. Through RDAP, federal prison staff members award successful participants with an earlier release from prison.
Does everyone qualify for RDAP?
- Not everyone qualifies for RDAP. To qualify for RDAP, an individual must meet specific criteria. Those criteria include a documented history of substance abuse within 12 months of the time of the arrest. If an offender has documented history of violence, that may record may disqualify access to RDAP.
If I qualify for RDAP, how much time can I get off of my sentence?
- Qualifying for RDAP can lead to a time cut of 12 months, nine months, or six months from the release date.
What determines how much time I can get off of my sentence?
- If a judge sentences a person to more than 36 months, that person may receive up to 12 months off of the sentence.
- When the judge imposes a sentence of more than 30 months, but less than 36 months, that person may receive up to 9 months off of the sentence.
- Individuals sentenced to less than 30 months, but more than 24 months, may receive up to six months off of the sentence.
What exactly is RDAP?
- RDAP is a voluntary 500-hour residential drug abuse program. Congress authorized the BOP to grant time reductions of up to one year for eligible people that completed RDAP successfully. The law is authorized under Title 18 U.S.C. §3621.
What is my PSR doesn’t reflect my history of Substance Abuse:
- Please see Program Statement 5330.11, Chapter 2, Pag 12, under the headline: No Verifying Documentation. It states: “You may seek documentation from a substance abuse treatment provider where you previously received treatment. This document must have been written at the time services were provided and must demonstrate that a substance use diagnosis was completed at the time you were seen, and that treatment was provided for that documented substance abuse diagnosis.
Where can I find the BOP policy statements regarding RDAP?
- Find the BOP policy statements regarding RDAP by looking at BOP Program Statement #5331.02 and BOP Program Statement #5162.05.
If I get into RDAP, what can I expect?
- People that get into RDAP can expect three components. The first component takes place inside of a housing unit. It lasts six to 12 months. Participants go through three to five hours of classes or coursework while they serve their time in prison. People that complete the program have follow-up services in prison if they’re not yet ready for release. If they’re released after completing RDAP, they need to go through Transitional Drug Abuse Treatment when they’re released. The RDAP aftercare lasts about six months.
What is the best way to qualify for RDAP?
- If a federal defendant doesn’t have a documented history of violence, he or she should understand RDAP prior to the Presentence Investigation Report. Staff members in the BOP will rely upon that report to determine whether the defendant qualifies for RDAP.
- If a person did not document the substance abuse in the PSR, then the individual should take steps to get letters from a medical doctor or mental health professional, or drug-abuse-treatment provider. Those letters should document the individual’s history of substance abuse.
What does the BOP consider as substance abuse for the purposes of qualifying for RDAP?
- Officials in the BOP know that many people want to get into RDAP. Those who complete RDAP successfully get out of prison earlier. The BOP may resist applicants, or say that they do not qualify for RDAP.
- If the applicant can show a substance use disorder as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), he qualifies. That criteria shows both a history of substance abuse, and a pattern of substance use that leads to significant impairment in functioning.
Does alcohol or abuse of prescription medications qualify for the benefits of RDAP?
- Yes. As long as the individual can show that he or she has a substance abuse disorder as defined by the DSM-IV, that individual may qualify to participate in RDAP. Many people get the benefit of RDAP—including early release from prison—if they document abuse of alcohol or prescription medications.
How do I know if the BOP will resist my application to participate in RDAP?
- You may research the Internet to learn whether you qualify. You may contact an expert. Our team of experts routinely helps people understand what steps they can take to qualify for RDAP, and helps them understand how to complete the program successfully.
What is the Statement of Reasons?
- After the judge orally pronounces the sentence, the judge must complete two documents: the “Judgment” and the “Statement of Reasons.” Those documents memorialize in writing what the judge orally pronounced in court.
- The judgment specifies the sentence, any term of supervised release and the release conditions, and the financial penalties. The judgment is a publicly accessible document.
- The Statement of Reasons, however, is a sealed part of the record. It provides information about whether the judge’s sentence was within or outside of the applicable Guideline range and the specific reasons for a sentence imposed outside the range.
- The Bureau of Prisons must consider what the judge wrote in the Statement of Reasons. If a judge recommends that a person should participate in the RDAP program and get drug treatment, the Bureau of Prisons will consider the judge’s statement as verification of the person’s problems with substance abuse, and admit the person into The RDAP Program.