RDAP Autobiography Presentation Requirements

Directions: Your task is to write a story about your life using the areas and questions listed below as a guide. Make sure that in your story you address the information that is asked for in the questions. Any additional information is welcome. This autobiography needs to be a minimum of 5 pages. Please add additional pages if you need them. Your autobiography will be presented in group.

Family History: The following are issues to be covered in the family section of your autobiography:

1. Demographic information

Who are you? When and where were you born? How old are you currently?


Family members: Parents names and ages, siblings names and ages


Atmosphere: Did you grow up with your natural family? If so, what was it like growing up in your house? If not, who did you live with, i.e. extended family members, foster care, etc? How ere you parented? Was it lenient? Strict? What kinds of punishment did you receive in your family: physical, emotional, verbal, etc.? Did you get along with your parents (caregivers)? Siblings? Who did you get along with best? Who did you have the most trouble getting along with?


Deaths: While you were growing up, did any significant people in your life die? Who were they? What was your relationship with this person like? How old were you when they died? How did you life change after they died?


Parents’ Marital History: Were your parents together the entire time you were growing up? If not, when did they separate/divorce? How old were you? Who did you live with? Were there remarriages (or significant relationship partners)? How did you get along with your parents’ new partners? Do you have half-siblings as the result of these relationships? How do you get along with these half-siblings? What was their relationship like, i.e. how did they interact with each other?


Marital History: Are you currently or have you ever been married? List your wives, approximately when you were married, any children, when you divorced, etc. What were your relationships like with these women? What are your relationships like with your children? If you have never been married, list significant relationships that you have been in, any children from these relationships, etc.


Family Support While Incarcerated: What kind of support have you received from your family while incarcerated? Do you anticipate their being supportive of your recovery when you are released? Are they in any counseling or recovery programs themselves?



2. Alcohol/Drug Use History


The following issues are to be addressed in the alcohol/drug history section of your autobiography:


First Use: What did you use first? How old were you? Who did you use with? What was the experience like for you?


Continued use: Describe all drugs that you used across your lifetime. For each drug, answer the following: What did you use? How old were you when you first used it? What was your use of that drug like over time: amount?, frequency? When was the last time you use each drug?


Consequences: In detail, explain the consequences that you have suffered as a result of your drug use. Consider the following areas: health, family relationships, school, work, financial, social, mental, emotional, legal.


Treatment History: Have you ever been in treatment for drugs? If so, when (how old were you?) and where? Did you receive treatment? Did you complete the treatment program? How long did you stay clean after being released from treatment?


Self-Help Attendance: Have you ever attended 12-step groups? Before incarceration? When and where? Were you required to do so? What was your impression of the meetings? How long did you attend? Did you get a sponsor? Did you use your sponsor? Did you work the steps?


Drug Use While Incarcerated: Have you ever taken drugs while incarcerated, whether you were caught or not? When was the last time you used?



3. Criminal History


The following are issues that are to be addressed in the criminal history section of your autobiography:


Family Rules: What was your attitude toward rules? How did you respond to the rules in your family? Which rules did you break the most? How did your parents/caregivers respond to your rule breaking? What consequences did you experience as a result of your rule breaking?


School Rules: What was your attitude toward rules? How did you respond to the rules of your school? How did you deal with the authorities? Did you get in trouble a lot? What did you generally get in trouble for? What were the consequences?


Social Rule Breaking: When did you begin breaking the rules/laws of society? What was your attitude toward rules/laws?


Criminal Behavior: Describe all of the criminal behaviors that you have participated in, whether you were caught or not!!! What types of behaviors did you participate in? Were these done solo or with others? For those that you got away with, what was your thinking when you realized that you did get away with it? Describe how your criminal behavior escalated over time.


Arrest History: How many times have you been arrested? For how many of these arrests were you convicted (found guilty)? What types of behavior have you been arrested for? Have you ever been given probation rather than jail time? How did you respond to this?


Incarceration History: Over your life, how much time have you served in jail (include juvenile and adult incarcerations)? What charges have you received incarceration for (list each charge, the time you received and the amount of time you served)? Where have you been incarcerated? What security level was each prison? What is the longest time you’ve been on the streets between jail terms? What is the longest period of time on the streets in which you have not participated in any criminal behavior?


Rule Breaking/Criminal Behavior While Incarcerated: What types of incident reports have you received while incarcerated? What types of rule breaking/criminal behavior have you participated in while incarcerated, whether caught or not?



4. Educational History

The following are issues to be addressed in the Educational History section of your autobiography:


Grade School: Where did you attend school? What were your grades like? What was your behavior like? Did you get held back in grade(s)? Which ones? What was your response? Were you ever in any special education classes, speech or hearing classes, behavioral disorder classes or learning disability classes? What kinds of disciplinary problems did you experience? What was that experience like to you? What were your relationships like with your teachers? What were your relationships like with other students?


Junior High School: Answer all the same questions as those listed under Grade School. In addition, during any of these grades did you quit school? Why did you quit?


High School: Answer all the same questions as those listed under Grade School and Junior High School. In addition, did you graduate? What was your final grade average?


College: Did you attend college? Where? When? What did you study? Did you complete a degree? In what? What were your grades like?


Education While Incarcerated: What types of educational classes have you taken while incarcerated? Do you intend to use them in some way once you are released? Why or why not?



5. Employment History


The following are areas to be addressed in the Employment History section of your autobiography.


First Job: How old were you? What did you do? Did you get paid?


History of Jobs: Starting with your most recent job, list each job that you have held, what you were doing on that job and how long you stayed at that job. Were you ever terminated from any of these jobs? For what reason? Did you ever use your legitimate job as a means of committing a crime? If you have never held a legitimate job, what did you do to earn money, i.e. criminal activity, lived with relative, public assistance, etc.?


Employment While Incarcerated: What types of jobs have you been assigned to while incarcerated? What kind of work reports have you received? Do you intend on looking for a job in this area when you are released? Why or why not?

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Discussion closed
  • JC (Wednesday, September 04 13 02:30 pm EDT)

    You might consider adding some current information regarding the ever-growing number of those with so-called sex offenses participating in RDAP. The BOP permits those with nonviolent, non-contact
    (basically computer)charges to participate and earn the full sentence reduction. However, for obvious reasons of safety, the program will counsel such participants about avoiding specific mention of
    their offense and otherwise be vague about their charges. This of course can be something of a challenge, and there are some who are forthright about their charges. However, I was in that situation
    and my Life Story (what you call an autobiography) talked around my specific charge and focused more narrowly on my family and career background and substance abuse experiences.

  • Cliff Wimberly (Wednesday, September 04 13 04:02 pm EDT)

    JC - thank you for the insightfullness. I would also like to add that the inmate must also not be charged with distribution of the child porn material in order to get the sentence reduction.