RDAP Program Details
I. PROGRAM STRUCTURE
A. Modified Therapeutic Community
The Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program (RDAP) at the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is a Modified Therapeutic Community. This treatment community stems from the belief that living in an environment where certain goals are expected by not only staff, but peers is a powerful form of therapy. Peer support is critical to the community and your treatment. The very nature of the community requires that a great deal of interaction and sharing of issues take place in a public manner.
Participants are expected to share personal information about themselves and their past in front of the community to assist themselves and others in the change process. Participants are also expected to help each other by holding each other accountable for unacceptable behavior in private and in public. Community discussions are viewed as crucial to successful treatment. These meetings can be positive, intense, confrontational and challenging. Peers may, at times, provide support and encouragement to each other and at other times intense confrontation.
In short, we believe that just as addicts get other people addicted to drugs, recovering addicts can help other addicts off drugs and into recovery. We also believe that people do not change because they see the light, but because they feel the heat. The professional staff work closely with inmates in the community to create a positive and caring atmosphere, whereby residents can exert peer influence among each other to make meaningful life changes and build a support program of recovery over addiction.
B. Small Groups
This program utilizes a “Small Group” which provides for each inmate the opportunity to share his challenges in recovery with his fellow participants on a more intimate level. In sharing, he learns there is nothing he has experienced that has not been encountered by other group members. He also has a chance to practice new skills learned in module groups. The group serves as a “reality check” of attitudes and behavior which support recovery are immediately reinforced, while attitudes and behavior which signal a relapse receive equally immediate scrutiny. Through the various groups offered as part of treatment, the community helps support a program of recovery for each inmate on the unit.
C. Module Groups
The program also places an emphasis on learning skills and putting these skills into action. Module groups are designed to assist participants in learning critical thinking and problem solving skills (Rational Thinking); anger management, communication and interpersonal skills (Living with Others); skills to avoid relapse in high risk situations that lead to drug use (Recovery Maintenance); a weighing of the costs and benefits of the criminal lifestyle and values that resulted in incarceration and victimization of others (Criminal Lifestyles); an intense exploration of the pain that participants cause others (Victim Empathy); skills to obtain employment (Employment Readiness); and the development of a balanced lifestyle which includes physical, emotional and spiritual avenues to cope with stress (Lifestyle Balance). In addition to the aforementioned modules, participants engage in Personal Responsibility and Teaming. Personal Responsibility involves weekly formal cleaning of the housing unit. Teaming allows for peers to formally team each participant to assist each participant in identifying issues that are in need of change.
D. Self-Help Groups
In addition to the skills that are taught in RDAP, we support the Twelve Steps groups and SMART Recovery as valuable components of the recovery process. The Twelve Step model is consistent with the goals of the community; namely, to help addicts build a program of recovery from drugs and alcohol. Some participants choose to immediately reject AA and NA as a result of the spiritual component of these programs and/or as a result of the fact that these programs subscribe to the disease model of addiction. The disease model assumes that you are powerless over your addiction. The disease model can conflict with the bio-psychosocial model that is utilized in RDAP which asserts that although there are many factors (genetics, personality, societal influences, family environment, etc.) that contributed to one’s addiction, the individual is ultimately responsible for all the choices made in his life.
Despite the differences, AA, GA, NA, and SMART Recovery can be used as a support system for a participant in his recovery. Upon release, self-help meetings are readily available to anyone who wishes to attend. Therefore, it is useful for participants to find a way to incorporate this into their recovery. Treatment staff and peers will provide guidance in assisting participants to incorporate self-help groups into your treatment program These meetings can provide unconditional support in a time of crisis when a participant is in society and does not have peers or community professionals readily available to him.
E. A Typical Treatment Day
A typical treatment day begins with a Community Meeting followed by a treatment activity. Treatment activities include 1) Personal Responsibility – where participants take initiative for cleaning their units; 2) Teaming – where participants publicly evaluate another participant’s progress in treatment; 3) Small group, a psychotherapy group; or 4) Module groups.
F. Phases I, II, and III
Phase I is approximately three months in length. It begins with a two to three week orientation period. Community members participate in structured activities under the direction of treatment staff, who critically examine their motivation for treatment. This is also a time for participants to develop an understanding of the importance and power of the treatment community. Participants meet with their primary Drug Treatment Specialist (DTS), who then formulates an individualized treatment plan. Each participant should direct questions about his treatment to his primary DTS and should only attempt to speak to another staff member about his issue at the direction of his primary DTS. This serves to minimize confusion and assures that treatment is coordinated by one individual. Participants engage in module groups, small group therapy, community meetings and evaluation as determined by their DTS.
In Phase I, participants must demonstrate their commitment and motivation to change their drug seeking behavior and criminal thinking. Participants who have not decided to stop using drugs or engaging in behaviors indicative of criminal thinking will not begin treatment. Participants will be given direct feedback during Phase I about whether their behavior or behaviors are indicative of recovery. If an individual does not wish to change his lifestyle, he will not be permitted to continue in treatment.
Phases II and III are each approximately three months in length. Participants continue to participate in all module groups, small group therapy, community meetings, and evaluation. Participants in Phases II and III of the Residential Drug Abuse Program must have demonstrated to staff a commitment to change. It is very important for participants in these Phases to continue to develop a program of recovery that is demonstrated in their thinking, behavior, attitude, and respect towards others. Participants will be given constant feedback about their progress. More precise and concrete feedback will be given every 60 days via 60-day reviews. Participants who perform poorly may meet with the entire treatment team in a formal meeting and their DTS individually to develop a specific plan for improvement. More often, participants will meet with the Community to include Senior Peer Assistants, and/or the Treatment Team to be confronted with the problematic behavior.
G. Small Group Rules
Small group is a place for you to discuss issues on a more personal level as well as a place to try out new behaviors. It is a “lab” to practice and to work through important issues with the hope that you will one day be able to bring up these issues to the larger groups. Group works best when there is trust and support.
- Be on time
- Minimize call outs. The group suffers when a member is absent. Make every effort to avoid having call-outs during group time. When you are absent from group, you need to explain your absence upon your return.
- Take care of your personal business before and after group, not during group, i.e. no drinks of water, bathroom breaks.
- If you talk with another group member, the facilitator, or other treatment staff about the group, bring this back to the group.
- Be attentive, i.e. no yawning, writing, drawing, slouching, side conversations, and no note passing.
- Be respectful of others. Take turns when talking and do not stand up while you are talking.
- Sit as a group, i.e. chairs should be in a circle with no empty chairs between you and another member.
- Do not bring books or papers to group.
- Be a responsible participant – You get out of the group what you put into it, so you need to participate.
- This is not a time to ask the facilitator questions. This is a time for you to ask the group questions. The most important aspects of the groups are the process of what is going on in the here-and-now, and your relationship with your group members.
- Confidentiality is an important part of the group that is sometimes difficult for members of a treatment community to understand. Confidentiality is not absolute. If staff feel there is a risk that you will harm yourself, someone else, or that there is a threat to the security of the institution this will be reported to necessary staff. Reports of child abuse or the abuse of a vulnerable adult will also be reported to the local authorities. Staff will not, however, discuss your small group issues with individuals who do not have a clinical or custodial need to know.
All members of the community are an important part of the change process, so the small group is not a place to “hide out” from the community. The belief, “What is said in group stays in group” is NOT ACCURATE for this small group. This does not mean that you can gossip or discuss details of your group with anyone; it means that you respectfully use information to help others. You may speak specifically about your own issues that you have discussed in small group, but you can not speak about someone else’s specific issues that they discussed during small group. You may speak about patterns that you have seen from individuals in larger groups when it is appropriate.
You may not, however, discuss other group members’ specific, personal information that is discussed in small group. Here is an example of a violation of confidentiality: “I think this is a result of you being abused as a child.” However, you could instead say, “I think this is a result of some of the issues that you have struggled with in small group.” Additionally, if there are general underlying issues of anger or trust it may be helpful to point this out and you would not be expressly violating confidentiality. When a clear pattern has developed, it is important and helpful for you to point this out. For example, if a participant has a clear pattern of a behavior, such as anger, that is obvious to most others it is not a violation of confidentiality to state , “This is the same kind of angry outbursts that you have demonstrated during small group.”
RDAP Law and Prison Consultants specialize in successful RDAP eligibility, admissions, and support for the maximum sentence reduction possible for early release. We take most cases on contingency, which means we will get you success or there is no fee. Your success is our success. Timing is important and with the complex requirements surrounding what documentation are deemed acceptable, it’s important to seek consultation immediately. Call us now!