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 10 FAQs on RDAP 

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Michael Santos

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Free Answers to Questions About RDAP

  • RDAP is an acronym for the Residential Drug Abuse Program.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Does everyone qualify for RDAP?

  • Not everyone qualifies for RDAP. To qualify for RDAP, an individual must meet specific criteria. One criterion includes a documented history of substance abuse within 12 months of the time of arrest. If an offender has a documented history of violence, that may record may disqualify access to RDAP.

5. If I qualify for RDAP, how much time can I get off of my sentence?

  • Qualifying for RDAP can lead to a reduction of 12 months, nine months, or six months from the release date.

6. What determines how much time I can get off of my sentence?

  • Individuals who are sentenced to more than 36 months may receive up to 12 months off of the sentence. Individuals who are sentenced to more than 30 months may receive up to 9 months off of the sentence. Individuals who are sentenced to more than 24 months may receive up to six months off of the sentence.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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 with substance abuse.

11. 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 rule requires both a history of substance abuse and a pattern of substance use that leads to significant impairment in functioning.

12. 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.

13. 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. At Prison Professors, 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.

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