Survive and Thrive in RDAP

Congratulations, you got into the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program (RDAP) which is only half the battle. In order to get the full benefits of up to 12 months sentence reduction and early release and 6 months halfway house/home confinement, you next have to survive the program and graduate, which is no trivial task. A significant percentage of inmates don’t make it through the program successfully for three reasons: they sign out or quit, they are kicked out, or they are restarted in the program due to poor progress.

Over 80% of all RDAP participants are in prison for drug related charges. Typically, white collar criminals make up only a small percentage of the program and tend to be held to a higher standard for successful RDAP completion. In some cases, they experience discrimination from both treatment staff and other inmates alike, especially those white-collar inmates that were involved in a high dollar crime! Why should you deserve the time off, so goes the thinking? This means that if you are a white-collar criminal and want to better guarantee success, it would be prudent to hire prison consultants who specialize in RDAP or at a minimum, research about the program so that you are better prepared.

The purpose of this paper is to outline the general structure and requirements of the RDAP program as well as suggestions to succeed as recommended by many of our past RDAP graduates.

Program Structure

RDAP relies on the Therapeutic Community made of up to 48 fellow inmates. This treatment community stems from the belief that recovering addicts can help other addicts off drugs and into recovery. The community discussions then are crucial to successful treatment and the change process. Peers may, at times, provide support and encouragement to each other and at other times can be intensely confrontational. Besides substance abuse and addiction, inmates exhaustively learn criminal thinking patterns and their coping strategies.

Besides the Therapeutic Community, the program also uses three other types of groups for treatment: small, module, and self-help groups. First, “Small Group” provides each inmate the opportunity to share his challenge in recovering with other fellow participants on a more intimate level. This “smaller” group serves as a reality check of attitude and behaviors which support recovery are immediately reinforced, while attitudes and behavior which signed relapse receive equally immediate scrutiny. Second, “Module Group” is designed to assist inmates in learning critical thinking and problem solving skills using workbooks in a classroom environment. Class topics span from “Rational Thinking” to “Lifestyle Balance” to “Relapse Prevention”.


Finally, “Self-Help Groups” are the twelve step programs, such as Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotic Anonymous, and SMART Recovery as valuable components of the recovery process and to serve as a support system. These meetings can provide unconditional support in time of crisis when you are in society and do not have peers or community professionals readily available.

Program Phases

RDAP is comprised of three phases, each approximately 3 months in length. Phase I begins with a two to three week orientation period followed by meetings with their primary Drug Treatment Specialist (DTS) to formulate their individualized treatment plan. In Phase I, inmates must demonstrate their commitment and motivation to change their drug seeking behavior and criminal thinking. Phases II and III, participants continue to participate in module groups, small group therapy, community meetings, and evaluation. Inmates are required to demonstrate to staff a commitment to change as demonstrated in their thinking, behavior, attitude, and respect towards others.

Program Requirements

By signing up with RDAP, inmates are committing themselves to abide by the rules and regulations of the program. It becomes obvious that true recovery is a 24-hour a day process. Three themes should become an integral part of their new, developing lifestyle: self-responsibility, motivation, and recovery. Inmates are expected to engage in all aspects of treatment, to hold each other accountable for behaviors that are unacceptable to the community and are inconsistent with recovery, to utilize others for support and guidance, and to be public in their efforts at recovery. The following are sample behaviors viewed as important for progress in treatment and recovery:



  • Participate and be genuinely motivated to change. Be on time and prepared for group. Show seriousness and willingness to work the program. As an example, sit straight and at attention with positive body language at all times. Engage in treatment by participating in group activities. Show sincerity and honesty and expose yourself during group.


  • Respect yourself and others. Exhibit pro-social behavior and hold others accountable for bad behavior. Demonstrate having a good attitude, such as caring to others, by supporting fellow participants in group. Do not be vindictive to other inmates.


  • Follow all rules in group at all times and hold yourself accountable if a rule is broken. Honesty is the foundation of the program.


  • Always show pro-social behavior, especially during telephone calls and emails which are recorded. Be careful who you confide in and always exhibit pro-social behavior in your conduct and conversations with them.


  • Show humility. Everyone in group is considered “equal” and you must humble yourself.  That means that no one cares how big or grandiose your white collar crime was.  You must try to blend in with the rest of the group.  Nobody likes a show off, so dumb it down.

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!

Write a comment


  • Bill R. (Saturday, October 06 12 04:12 pm EDT)

    My brother is having difficult time in rdap. How many errors can he make before they kick him out?

  • Jeff (Saturday, October 20 12 07:53 pm EDT)

    Anh, can you let me know what it is for my brother whose doign rdap to graduate? He told me he's having a tough time.

  • Cliff Wimberly (Sunday, March 10 13 08:42 am EDT)

    Jeff, that is a difficult question because I really don't know the specifics about what is going on with your brother. Best thing I can say is for your brother to follow the rules and go to his DTS
    and ask for clarification on his expectations and for some help.

    The RDAP program was designed for those with no more than a 5th grade education, so if you can read and write at that basic level, academically your brother should not have a problem.

    Please call our office if you need further help.

  • crew (Tuesday, May 14 13 06:13 pm EDT)

    my husband was just accepted into rdap in ohion.

    are there some programs with 9 month half way house? do you get home confinement time after half way house 6 months??

  • Cliff Wimberly (Thursday, May 16 13 11:59 am EDT)

    6 months halfway house/home confinement is what is given for RDAP. You may receive more if the BOP decides you need more time to re-adjust to society or if you get into the Second Chance Act.

    You first go to the halfway house and usually when you get to your 10% date, you are sent to home confinement. There are exceptions.

  • Monique (Sunday, September 08 13 11:52 pm EDT)

    I have asked a question multiple times on different forums. Is there a reason I have not been replied to?

    Hi. My husband is currently in the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center as a ferderal inmate. He was sent to this location per the judges request because it had the shortest waiting list for the RDAP
    program. First other inmates said that he could serve his entire sentance before getting into the program. Now he is being told that if he gets in it wouldn't make a difference because this facility
    does not reduce your sentance for taking the program. In order to get the time off he would have to transfer, but it would take to long to do that. Is this information true? Or just an in house

  • Cliff Wimberly (Monday, September 09 13 10:35 am EDT)

    Monique - he has to complete the 500 hour RDAP program from a federal prison to get the sentence reduction. Please call our office to know the facts.

  • Jerry (Wednesday, October 23 13 05:13 pm EDT)

    If you do the program "just" for the time off at the place I was at, you wont make it. the program at Beckley is hard but the program will improve you as a person if you work the program. Treatment
    isn't for everyone. the white collar guys have a tough time because of their sense of entitlement. I got the halfway house time only, but doing the program will change your life. I was a life long
    drug addict and it worked wonders in my life. at Beckley they hold peers accountable, so realize others will be involved in your treatment.

  • Vicki (Wednesday, October 23 13 11:02 pm EDT)

    My son is in the RDAP program but he has been denied early time off. He had a gun in his apartment when he was arrested. It was registered and was never used but anyway they gave him two points on
    his sentence just because he had it. Is there any way to get early release in this instance?

  • Cliff Wimberly (Thursday, October 24 13 08:05 am EDT)

    Vicki, I am sorry to say that the gun enhancement prevents him from getting the sentence reduction. He can still get the 6 months halfway house and home confinement.

  • Maree (Thursday, April 24 14 05:53 pm EDT)

    My relative is in the RDAP program in Tn. His sentence states that upon completion of the RDAP program his sentence will be suspended, not just reduced, but suspended. It says it right on the court
    website for his sentence/charges, etc. What I need to figure out is how does he get a hearing and have all of this take place when he is in a secure prison. He went in as an indegent and still is. I
    don't have money to send him. He will be finished with RDAP soon and is doing great. He wants to go to another rehab in another area when released and has already been accepted, but I have to figure
    out how to go about setting up a hearing so the sentencing judge will see he met the requirement and hopefully release him immediately. Can you give me some info?

  • Cliff Wimberly (Friday, April 25 14 11:34 am EDT)

    Maree, this is highly unusual. You want to first review his judgment and commit order to make sure what you are saying is true. He can ask for a federal defender to help.

  • angie (Thursday, October 16 14 02:54 pm EDT)

    Is it possible for an inmate to complete the RDAP program and not be allowed 6 months halfway for any reason?

  • Anh Nguyen (Wednesday, October 22 14 09:53 am EDT)

    angie, it is impossible since the regulations read that you must finish phase III which is done in 6 months of halfway house.

    I would think there are some incredibly rare exceptions but I have not seen it.

  • luis (Friday, July 10 15 11:32 pm EDT)

    I have an important situation My girl is doing the RDAP program she also has a $100 fee for every indictment she has. She has to pay monthly $25 that are due every 10 of the month she was told if she
    is late for the payment that she won't qualify for the RDAP time off well today she has to make the payment but i didnt get paid till tomorrow so im not able to put money on her books for her payment
    will this affect her in anyway is it true she wont get the time off?? Can i still make the payment tomorrow please help

  • Anh Nguyen (Tuesday, July 14 15 08:25 pm EDT)

    luis - If she misses these payments (called FRP), the RDAP program can penalize her and if it happens too often, they may kick her out of the program. Make sure these $25 payments are met in the

  • Jennie (Wednesday, August 02 17 08:15 pm EDT)

    I've completed RDAP successfully, it's a great program! I see all these comments/questions about how hard it is for family members, the truth is, yes, it's very hard, but it's worth it! I've been out almost 2 years now and I haven't touched a drug, or alcohol at all, I don't miss days of work, I have a great family Life as well...tell them to keep being honest, the work they do is for them and their future!

Please enter the code
* Required fields
Please be aware that the contents of this form are not encrypted