The Federal RDAP Program is the only Federal Bureau of Prisons that allows prisoners to get a reduced sentence. RDAP stands for Residential Drug Abuse Program. It is available for federal prisoners who are known to have a drug or alcohol problems.

Who are Qualified for the RDAP Program?

Federal inmates of all security levels, except those in high security, are qualified for the program as long as they have an addiction to illegal substances. Once they have completed the program, the inmates can get early release to a maximum of twelve months from their original jail time, as well as extended home or halfway house placement of six months during the end of their sentence. Home confinement begins at the latter stage of the sentence.

The amount of the early release depends on the length of the inmate’s sentence. For federal prisoners serving at least 37 months can get the full twelve months of early release. Prisoners who are serving sentences between 31 and 36 months can reduce their sentences by nine months. Inmates serving less than 31 months are qualified for a reduction of six months. However, it should be noted that the time off can be less than the maximum because of the overcrowding of the program. According to the BOP, the average reduction of sentences due to the RDAP program is nine months.

Aside from high-security prisoners, inmates charged with sexual abuse or violent crimes are not qualified for the RDAP. Some of the crimes that will disqualify prisoners from the time off include misdemeanor or felony convictions of rape, robbery, and assault and child sexual abuse. Prisoners convicted of crimes involving the use of a weapon or firearm, as well as some element of violence are also disqualified from the program. Persons who have pending state warrants, detainers, or charges are also not qualified for time off as well.

The federal inmate must have a verifiable documented prescription drug, alcohol, or narcotic drug abuse problem within the Presentence Investigation Report. The RDAP staff will check all the qualifications of the inmate. There are times when the PSR doesn’t include such information due to lack of accuracy or wrong advice from one’s counsel. When that’s the case, the offender needs to update the PSR. This can be done by asking for documentation verifying the substance abuse from a treatment provider or a former probation officer. The documentation must indicate the diagnosis and treatment a year before one’s incarceration.

The inmate must also pass a formal clinical interview conducted by the Drug Abuse Program Coordinator of the facility. The DAPC will check the background documentation and other data that support the diagnosis.

If the inmate has any mental disorders that can interfere with the RDAP program, one is required to sign a treatment contract. The federal prisoner can be disqualified by the DAPC if a dependency disorder or substance abuse was not diagnosed during the interview.

There is a high demand for the federal RDAP program because of the time off earned upon its completion. Almost every inmate applies for the program, but only a few will manage to qualify for it. The slots for RDAP classes are limited, and that’s why the BOP is strict with the program’s eligibility.

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