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Federal Prison RDAP Sentence Reductions

BOP Residential Drug Abuse Program

Okay so here it is, the BOP RDAP Program. I’m going tell you how RDAP Prison Consultants helps its clients get released from Federal Prison early and legally, using the Feds own laws with a program called RDAP! Here’s the history behind it!

Back in 1989 the drug war was in full swing! Crack cocaine was an epidemic, and the Cartels were bringing in powder and weed by the truck and plane load from south of the border. People were getting high everywhere and overdosing on the streets.

So Congress decided to act, and passed a law 18 U.S.C. 3621 (e) starting a Federal Prison rehab program for Inmates called the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) after a study determined many of the people in prison had drug problems; and in their wisdom later threw in booze as a qualifying substance for program entry. Well if you’re lawyer, as many lawyers do, forgot to tell you, the program’s still around and people get released early from federal prison utilizing it every day!

The Federal Bureau of Prison RDAP Early Release Program normally takes 9 months to complete. Qualified inmates attend a 500-hour program at selected Federal Prisons throughout the U.S.

It’s like an endless AA or NA meeting that goes on 4 days a week for 9 months. RDAP inmates read books, listen to lectures, watch videos and spill their guts about their issues.

How Much RDAP Early Release Inmates Get

By law Federal Inmates may not get more than 1 year off sentences for completing RDAP Inmate Substance Abuse Treatment Program. The amount of time they get off is based on their original sentence. 

A 37 month plus sentence qualifies for 12 months.
A 31-36 months qualifies for  9 months off.
A 31 month or less sentence qualifies for 6 months off.

Due to program overcrowding, inmates enrolled in the Residential Drug Abuse Program may receive less than their maximum eligible time off with the average sentence reduction throughout the BOP being approximately 6-9 months.

BOP RDAP Program Pre Custody Qualification

The key to getting to an inmate getting in to RDAP quickly, is by positioning themselves for early release before sentencing and even entering custody. So let me explain how to pre-qualify and how to do so. 

Who Qualifies For The Federal Prison Early Release Program

For a Federal defendant to qualify and enter the BOP Inmate Substance Abuse Treatment Program program and get up to an 18 Month Early Release, they must meet several specific criteria. Although many people think they must have a narcotics related crime or conviction to qualify for RDAP early release, that’s not true. A defendant with a white-collar crime is just as eligible and must go through the same qualification process.

While a Judge may have recommended RDAP at sentencing, that itself is not a guarantee into the RDAP Program. RDAP eligibility REQUIRES inmates have a documented history of narcotic drug, prescription drug, or alcohol abuse in their Presentence Investigation Report.

To qualify:

  • A defendant must have a verifiable substance abuse problem (disorder) pertaining to Illicit Drugs like Weed, Coke or Meth, or an Alcohol Problem where they drink to an excess, or possibly abuse Prescription Drugs like Valium, Norcos or Vicodin regardless how they obtained them.
  • A Defendant must be a No History of being a violent offender 10 years prior to their conviction.
  • A defendant must have enough time remaining on their sentence to complete the RDAP program.
  • A defendant’s substance abuse issue must have occurred 12 months prior to their arrest.
  • A defendant must have the mental capabilities to complete the RDAP program.


  • Defendants facing deportation from (ICE) Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
  • Defendants convicted of violent crimes including Domestic Violence and Sex Offenses;
  • Defendant’s with outstanding criminal warrants and detainers including traffic tickets;
  • Defendants ineligible for halfway house / reentry center placement.

For a complete list of RDAP Program Entry Disqualifiers click here

 Larry Levine CNN Apperances

To start with, a defendant must have a documented history of drug (substance) abuse for BOP Staff to verify. Verifications are normally done at the facility level. If a defendant was truthful when their PSI was preformed by U.S. Pretrial Services, it should be listed under the Substance Abuse Section of their PSR.

Unfortunately many times this is not the case, because either their lawyer advised them not to disclose the information, or they were afraid to tell the U.S. Probation Officer assigned to prepare their PSI/PSR, for fear of getting another charge.

RDAP Prison Consultants can legally assist defendants in validating the BOP eligibility requirements for the Federal Sentence Drug Reduction Program. Our assistance begins by having defendants evaluated by a licensed Retired BOP drug treatment counselor, who then, based on the information the defendant provides, generate a chemical dependency assessment showing a diagnosed substance abuse disorder utilizing the criteria that the Bureau of Prisons uses to admit people into the BOP RDAP Program.

A report will issued and signed with the retired BOP Officials name and psychology staff title. The report is then sent directly to the psychology department at whatever institution the defendant is designated to. Our drug treatment counselors will also brief the defendant prior to their self-surrendering as to the RDAP interview process ensuring a seamless transition into the Federal Sentence Drug Reduction program.

Upon successful completion of the 500 hour RDAP program, eligible inmate’s benefit in the following way:

1. Early Prison Release of up to 12 months off their incarceration time.
2. Plus 6 months stay in a halfway house or home confinement placement at the end of their sentence.

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