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Big Changes to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Drug Program (RDAP)

The Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program also known as “RDAP” is the Bureau of Prison’s most intensive and demanding treatment program offered to inmates at several federal prisons throughout the United States. It requires that inmates live in special units apart from the general population inmates and that they participate in specified educational and vocational activities. The program takes approximately nine months to complete and inmates who successfully complete the program receive a sentence reduction of up to 12 months.

On April 26, 2016, the Bureau of Prisons changed some of the rules that apply to the program. For starters, significant changes were made to the rules concerning expulsion from the program. Specifically, inmates that are involved in the following activities: alcohol or drugs; violence, or threats of violence; escape or attempted escape; or any 100 level series incident are no longer subject to expulsion from the program.

Most importantly, the Bureau of Prisons changed the rules on prior convictions so that now violent offenses older than ten years do not make an individual ineligible for early release. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Prisons kept the requirement that forbids early release for individuals convicted of certain crimes which include homicide; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault; arson; kidnapping; or an offense that by its nature or conduct involves sexual abuse offenses committed upon minors. Rule 550.55(b) sets forth all the crimes. The changes take effect on May 26, 2016.

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