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:
Defense counsel are encouraged to carefully vet substance use/abuse issues with clients in preparation for the presentence interview. Although BOP policy permits consideration of certain collateral information when reviewing a prisoner’s eligibility for RDAP, it looks first (and foremost) at the PSR. Getting helping during the pendency of a case also helps client’s better manage the stressors of prosecution and the attendant uncertainties.