In my work with federal prisoners, I am frequently asked to assist individuals who qualify for the Bureau of Prisons’ 500-hour RDAP despite their presentence investigation reports suggesting otherwise. In particular, there are individuals who under-report substance use/abuse to Probation during the presentence interview. This often occurs with individuals who consider themselves “social drinkers,” that is, individuals who do not perceive their drinking as an “issue.” Experience suggests that for individuals who drink regularly, how they view their drinking can differ markedly from how a trained clinician may see it. Thankfully, as discussed in this NPR story, NIH has produced a new tool to help individuals (and their attorneys) assess the nature and import of their alcohol consumption patterns and to identify appropriate treatment providers:
Last May, I had the pleasure of presenting via a webinar sponsored by the Association of Federal Defense Attorneys: Understanding the BOP’s 500-Hour Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). That program, which runs more than an hour-and-a-half, is now available on-line.
For those unfamiliar with the AFDA, it regularly offers excellent, topical CLE for federal practitioners. The programs are webinar-based, meaning, among other things, that they can be accessed at one’s leisure from the AFDA’s archive. Individuals interested in joining the AFDA can click here.
Through the Federal Register, the BOP has announced proposed “revisions to the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program (RDAP) regulations in four areas to allow greater inmate participation in the program and positively impact recidivism rates. Specifically, the Bureau proposes to (1) remove the regulatory requirement for RDAP written testing because it is more appropriate to assess an inmate’s progress through clinical evaluation of behavior change (the written test is no longer used in practice); (2) remove existing regulatory provisions which automatically expel inmates who have committed certain acts (e.g., abuse of drugs or alcohol, violence, attempted escape); (3) limit the time frame for review of prior offenses for early release eligibility purposes to ten years before the date of federal imprisonment; and (4) lessen restrictions relating to early release eligibility.”
As I’ve previously written, not long after publicly acknowledging in 2008 that it was, for the first time, “unable to meet its mandate to provide treatment for all inmates who volunteer for and are qualified for treatment before they are released from the Bureau of Prison,” the BOP eliminated RDAPs for Spanish-speaking prisoners. Yesterday, I learned that the Bureau recently restored RDAP for Spanish only speakers. As reflected in the list of 2014 RDAP sites, Spanish-speaking RDAP is now available at FCI Miami (FL) and FMC Carswell (TX).
*HT to Marcos Hasburn
Seasoned federal practitioners may recall a time, not so long ago, when the designation of federal offenders was largely a local affair. Community Corrections Offices would process designation packages of newly sentenced defendants and forward placement recommendations to the Regional Designator for final approval. That design ended around early 2006 with the activation of the Designation and Sentence Computation Center (DSCC) in Grand Prairie, Texas, which centralized and consolidated the designation process. Designation teams divided by referring district court(s) have assumed the Community Corrections Office role, and a team of designators (Hotel Team) serves the Regional Designator function.
Overcrowding is no doubt a factor. According to the Bureau’s FY 2013 Congressional Budget—Buildings and Facilities: