We get a lot of questions about the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP), which is the Bureau of Prisons’ most intensive treatment program. So we asked one of our former clients, Gary Larimore, to tell us about the RDAP program.
The attorneys at Carver, Cantin and Mynarich, LLC keep in contact with many of our former clients while they are in prison and even once they are released. We learn a lot about prison life from our former clients and this allows us to tell our new clients what they can expect in prison.
Gary’s expertise comes from his own experience of being a 10-year federal inmate who has successfully completed the RDAP program and who graduated from the Federal Re-Entry Court Program. Gary served time as an inmate in all different levels of facilities, ranging from camp, low, medium and high. The following information was provided to us by Gary.
RDAP helps offenders with drug problems identify patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that lead to self-destructive actions thereby enabling them to cope and avoid relapsing back into a destructive lifestyle.
RDAP participation is voluntary and in very high demand because it is the only program within prison that can reduce a prisoner’s sentence. Interested prisoners must apply by requesting an eligibility review. In order to qualify for RDAP, one must:
- have at least 24 months or more remaining to serve;
- present a verifiable and documented history of substance abuse within the last year preceding arrest for underlying offenses (this is discretionary with the reviewer and could be such things as previous drug counseling, marriage or divorce counseling notating substance abuse, DWI, DUI, etc.);
- have no violent felony or misdemeanor offenses. Convictions for homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and child sexual abuse all render a prisoner ineligible to participate. Even involvement in arson or meth lab can render one ineligible;
- have no serious mental or cognitive impairment precluding full program participation; 5) be halfway house eligible (which precludes participation by removable non-U.S. citizens; and
- sign an acknowledgement of program responsibilities.
Once prisoners qualify, they enter an intense 9-10 month program. First, they meet with a committee and inmates walk the new participants through the rules and parameters of the program. A caseworker is assigned to the new participant who determines the prisoner’s individual program needs.
For example, Gary Larimore received 7 workbooks for his program:
- Rational Thinking,
- Criminal Lifestyles,
- Living with Others,
- Lifestyle Balance,
- Transition, and
- Maintenance Balance Recovery.
Some prisoners receive up to 15 workbooks.
Gary Larimore said, “one workbook builds on what you learned from the previous workbook and then use in life.” He said, “I learned to think before I say because it can trigger bad things in other people…” Gary also participated in the 40 hour Residential Drug Treatment Program in prison as required prior to RDAP and he had received private treatment before prison, but he said that nothing compared to RDAP. “It was much more personalized and helped change my lifestyle, thinking and behavior,” said Larimore.
Once a prisoner is eligible for the program, he/she is put on a waitlist and will be transferred into one of the 74 programs at or around the time of expected entrance. A list of the program locations can be found here.
RDAP has a two-part component: 1) 500 hours of “in custody” treatment and 2) the Community Transitional Drug Abuse Treatment Program (TDAP) for halfway houses and home confinement.
For the first phase, the prisoner is placed in a segregated housing unit and continues to work/go to school which is secondary to treatment, recovery and re-entry. The prisoners attend 3.5 hour classes which include course workbook, homework, and regular group therapy sessions. The prisoner’s other half of the day consists of pursuing education, work skills, training and other inmate programs.
Inmates live in a pro-social environment learning to resolve their own conflicts utilizing the Community Resolution Committee where they cannot resolve conflicts on their own.
Eventually, the offender enters aftercare in TDAP for 6-8 weeks while residing in a halfway house and/or home confinement. They meet with a counselor once a week for two hours with handouts and homework. Finally, Community Treatment Services (CTS) works closely with U.S. Probation to establish a continuum of care. U.S. Probation is provided with a comprehensive discharge/termination report of the offender who participated in the treatment.
While Gary Larimore did not find that much of his sentenced was reduced, which is the case for most prisoners, he did find the program to be the first effective program in helping him in his recovery from drug addiction and he would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to truly reform their life.
We are grateful to Gary for sharing his personal experiences with us. Gary is the founder of Federal Consulting Advisors, a company dedicated to educating and helping people stay safe when entering the prison system.
Gary is available to help people entering prison and their family members gain peace of mind by answering questions and concerns about the unknowns at a Federal Prison. Gary also has given talks to schools about his life as a recovering addict. Gary can be reached at (417) 493-2410 for his work with Federal Consulting Advisors.