Resources – Preparing for Prison – Inmate Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP)

Drug Rehabilitation Programs in Federal Prison (RDAP)

The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) offers different drug treatment programs programs to assist inmates deal with drug and alcohol abuse. They key thing to remember about  these programs is that an inmate will only get as much as he or she puts into the program. In other words, if a prisoner is motivated about turning his or life around, these programs can be beneficial.

Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP)

RDAP is a drug rehabilitation program for those with alcohol or substance abuse problems prior to prison. For most inmates, statements made during the Pre-sentence Investigation will be the deciding factor on whether an individual qualifies for RDAP. Once in prison, the inmate will meet with a representative from the Psychology Department for an initial screening. That meeting will not take place until the inmate is within a specific number of months to release.

In a minimum-security camp, interview meetings concerning RDAP will take place when the inmate is about 33 months to release. In a low-security prison, those interview meetings will take place at about 46 months. In high-security prisons, the RDAP interview meetings will take place when the inmate advances to within 60 months of release.

REMEMBER: these problems must be documented in the inmates Pre-sentence Investigation Report. Thus, it is crucial that you notify the U.S. Probation officer that interviews you about your drug and/or alcohol problems. Typically, only drug or alcohol abuse within 12 months of your arrest will qualify you for the RDAP. In rare cases, inmates who  abuse drugs or alcohol while incarcerated are eligible.

RDAP is a nine-month residential program and includes an intense form of cognitive behavioral therapy. The program is sometimes recommended by the inmate’s sentencing judge. Regardless, inmates can volunteer for the program on their own. Entrance into the program is based proximity to release. Inmates with earlier release dates receive priority over inmates with later release dates.

Programs should have incentives, and the main incentive of RDAP is self-improvement. However, another incentive that attracts many inmates is the opportunity to receive a reduction in sentence of up to one year.

If an inmate takes RDAP seriously, then it will be effective.  The inmate will live in a housing unit that is solely for RDAP. Prior to entering the program the inmate will sit down with one of the program directors who will let the inmate know exactly how much time will be taken off his or her sentence upon successful completion of the program.

Inmates enter the RDAP program in accordance with the scheduled release dates. The highly sought-after program requires administrators to give priority enrollment to inmates with the nearest release dates. While waiting for RDAP, staff member may require the inmates to participate in less formal drug-awareness and counseling programs.

Inmates who successfully complete RDAP are required to participate in six months of transitional drug treatment in the community after being released to a halfway house. Assuming a year reduction in sentence and six months in a halfway house, the RDAP could bring a prisoner home up to 18 months sooner.

Non Residential Drug Abuse Program (NRDAP)

NRDAP is a non-residential drug program that is provided to inmates on a voluntary basis. This program is geared towards inmates who do not qualify for RDAP. The program is usually taught by a residential drug treatment specialist and is taken over the course of a few months. Inmates meet once or twice a week in group sessions.

Wardens are “strongly encouraged” to recommend inmates who complete NRDAP for maximum halfway house placement, which can be for up to one year.