You have done the hard part, you were accepted into the Bureau of Prisons Residential Drug Abuse Program. Assuming you qualify for the reduction in your sentence afforded by the Program, you may think that all you have to do is sit and wait for your date to change. Well I must tell you that RDAP is not that easy and, depending on your institution, may be quite hard to complete.
RDAP staff doesn’t think you are interested in real change
Because your ability to change and rehabilitate yourself is key to ensuring you do not return to, RDAP staff will make sure that you are improving and working on yourself. Unfortunately, I know men who did not successfully complete RDAP. This happened because they did not show improvement, did not accept responsibility for their continued behavior, and refused to change how they acted. In order to help you, I offer the following specific examples and my thoughts on how to avoid them:
Failing a drug test
This seems obvious and, quite frankly, it should be. If you are in a program that is meant to help you recover from using drugs, alcohol, or other substances, then testing positive for any substance will get you removed immediately. This is easy to avoid. You are in prison, do not make life harder on you than it already is.
Refusal to accept responsibility
One of the cornerstones of RDAP is the requirement that a participant accept responsibility for his actions both in the Program and leading up to his incarceration. This does not mean that if you took your case to trial or maintain your innocence that you will fail the Program. Rather, what your RDAP staff is looking for you to do is accept that decisions that you made caused problems for you, your family, and your victims.
When you break an RDAP rule, and trust me you will, your refusal to accept responsibility for it will garner you the wrong type of attention from the staff at your institution. Rather than blaming someone else for what you did, or denying that you broke a rule, accept responsibility and whatever punishment comes along with it and get through the Program.
Violating an institution rule
This is another one that seems obvious but for many prisoners it is hard to avoid. The best example I can give for this is the “Egg Man” at my prison. RDAP staff found an inmate’s stash of nearly 5 dozen eggs. He had violated institution rules by (1) taking eggs from food service; and (2) bringing food into a dorm. Those violations were enough to earn the “Egg Man” an eviction from the RDAP dorm. Breaking rules resulted in you being in prison, give up that behavior and get on with your life.
Within RDAP participants are required to participate in a “Process Group” meeting. This meeting is very similar to a twelve-step meeting but is conducted by RDAP staff. All information that is discussed is to remain strictly confidential. Failure to abide by this rule of confidentiality is grounds for immediate dismissal from RDAP. Remember, what is said in your meetings, stays in your meetings. Do not risk the benefits of the Program on this.
Denying that you need treatment
This may sound strange but many participants in this program of recovery will deny, to themselves and others, that they need the treatment. Some of this denial can come in the form of communication with those outside of their institution, via telephone, email, or letter. I have even heard men deny this in meetings with participants and staff. This is a huge problem.
The Bureau of Prisons has enacted RDAP to help those who need help. Denial of this need is a direct reflection of the participant’s failure to accept responsibility and can lead to your removal from the Program. Regardless of how you are feeling about your treatment or yourself on a given day, it is best to keep an opinion that you no longer have a problem to yourself.
Failing to participate/attitude problems
The final example I have is that of an inmate who shows up merely for the time off and chooses not to actively participate in the program. RDAP requires inmates to participate in a classroom and group environment. Your active participation is necessary for you to receive the full benefit of the treatment offered and to help those around you. The refusal to participate is indicative of a poor attitude, which in turn will lead RDAP staff to refuse to believe that you are making the changes necessary to benefit from the Program.
Keep in mind that RDAP staff is highly trained, they can get jobs in other places, when they see a person with an opportunity to improve his or her life steadfastly refuse to do so they have little patience for the offender. You truly will get out of RDAP all that you put into it. Take advantage of the time and free treatment by participating and completing the Program.
If you have more questions about what life in RDAP is like, or how to thrive while in prison, please schedule a call here.
P.S. Grab our lesson plan on RDAP while we are still offering it for free.
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