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The Champion

July 2006 , Page 36 

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Reducing Recidivism: The Bureau of Prisons Comprehensive Residential Drug Abuse Program

By Alan Ellis,J. Michael Henderson

The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ 500-hour Comprehensive Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) is a specialized program for offenders with substance abuse problems.1 Today, RDAP is the only Bureau of Prisons (BoP) program, other than the good conduct time provided by 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b), through which an inmate may reduce his sentence. It was not always so.

In 1989, when the BoP implemented its first three residential Drug Abuse Treatment Pilot Programs (DAP), an inmate who completed the then 12-month-long program received no reduction in sentence.2 Low numbers of DAP volunteers led the BoP Executive Staff to approve residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program incentives in October 1991. Those incentives included performance pay awards, and special T-shirts, ball caps, and pens, but no possibility of sentence reduction.3 All that changed with the passage of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (VCCLEA).4 This important legislation mandated a number of changes, the most sign

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