Friday, January 10, 2014

How RDAP Works

Outside of "have you heard about the 65% good time change", the most frequently asked question we hear about life in BOP is whether a particular client is eligible for the Residential Drug and Alcohol Program.

Many, many prisoners in the federal system need effective drug treatment.  A full 45% of federal prisoners meet the criteria for a DSM-IV substance abuse disorder. In each of its 117 institutions, BOP provides some level of drug counselling.  At 63 locations, an RDAP Unit is available, which is BOP's effort to comply with the statutory requirement that it provide residential drug treatment to the eligible inmates that it supervises.  RDAP is a 500 hour program in which participating inmates all live in the same housing unit and receive about three hours of drug treatment a day for nine months.

The incentive to inmates is that they can receive up to a year off their sentences, though only about 19% of inmates who complete the program actually do.  The average reduction is actually about eight months.

BOP Program Statement P5331.02 defines who is eligible for a sentence reduction.  The inmate must:

(1) have a verified diagnosis for a substance abuse disorder,
(2) be sentenced under the Sentencing Reform Act,
(3) complete RDAP, which includes completion of the community treatment program while in the halfway house or on home confinement, and
(4) be compliant with their obligations under the Financial Responsibility Program.

Many people are not eligible, including:

(1) those with a prior conviction for homicide (except negligent homicide), forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, arson, kidnaping, or an offense that involves the sexual abuse of a minor,
(2) inmates with a current conviction for an offense involving the actual, attempted, or threatened use of physical force, an offense that involves carrying, possessing, or use of a firearm, explosive, or other dangerous weapon, an offense that by its nature or conduct presents a serious potential risk of physical force, or sexual abuse of a minor.
(3) inmates with an ICE hold,
(4) inmates who have already received time off for completing RDAP,
(5) inmates that have detainers that will prevent them from going to a halfway house, because those inmates cannot complete the community treatment program.

The Program Statement also limits the possible sentence reduction credit by the length of the inmate's sentence.  With sentences of 30 months or less, no more than 6 months off may be earned.  Inmates with a sentence of 31-36 months may earn no more than nine months off, while inmates with sentences of 37 months or more may earn the full 12 months.


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