« Sentencing and searching in the Seventh Circuit | Main | Great insights on SCOTUS and criminal justice »

July 18, 2005

"Getting out early" through a federal drug program

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to post here attorney Alan Ellis's co-authored article "Litigating in a post-Booker World," which appeared in the Spring Issue of ABA Criminal Justice Magazine.  Now I can also make available another valuable article co-authored by Alan Ellis on a distinct topic which is forthcoming in the next issue of the ABA's Criminal Justice Magazine. 

Entitled "Getting Out Early: BOP Drug Program," the article now available for download below describes the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Comprehensive Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP).  As explained in the article, RDAP is "the only mechanism by which federal inmates can now potentially receive a reduction in their sentences beyond earning good conduct time credit."

Download ellis_bop_rdap.pdf

UPDATE:  FPD Steve Sady was kind enough to send me a note to highlight that this post on the Ninth Circuit Blog discusses the RDAP program and notes that some prisoners sentenced for offenses involving gun possession may be eligible for the program.

July 18, 2005 at 02:53 PM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "Getting out early" through a federal drug program:


So, if you're going to commit a federal crime, it's to your advantage to use drugs (or must one also be addicted to them?) beforehand for use as a sentence-reduction factor in case you get caught? I'm all for not treating drug use as a crime, but to the extent someone does commit a non-drug related crime (say, avoiding the filing of a currency transaction report) why should they spend less time in prison simply because they also happened to use drugs?

Posted by: Bruce M | Jul 18, 2005 3:35:18 PM

Your right one should just apply for parole or clemency instead!

Posted by: srb | Jul 18, 2005 4:20:41 PM

First of all, the ideal of getting time off through the drug program is misleading. I, personsally went through the drug program and was told that I would receive one year off my sentence. I only received 5 weeks off. Instead of spending 27 months (46 months sentence), I've spent 39 months. The BOP and the US Attorney cleverly lied and there's nothing you can do about it. I agree with bruce, people who are not addicted are trying to use the program to get less time. Some do, while other people who actually need it, don't. Initially, I was suppose to get probation, but that's another matter. I am currently awaiting for the Ninth circuit to make a ruling on my case (Booker).

Posted by: A | Jul 18, 2005 4:24:12 PM

As the wife of a federal prisoner, I guess I would like to know if there is a difference between INS Detainees and INS Detainers? (It would be nice if someone reading this could post an answer to that question.) My husband is serving time at FSL Jesup in Georgia, and I know for a fact that INS inmates of some sort (whether it's detainees or detainers) are taking the RDAP class, and according to this article by Ellis and Henderson it says INS Detainees are NOT eligible for the program. ???? If I knew the difference between the two maybe my question would be answered. Thanks in advance!
p.s. Mr. Berman, ironically I did email you about this very issue a short while back but I did not receive a response. Maybe I can get one here. I do realize that you are a very busy man. And I very much appreciate your blog! I get a lot of useful information from it!

Posted by: Aimee Boettcher | Jul 18, 2005 10:12:01 PM

plese help trying to figure out what my boyfriend of 16 years will get for drug traffecting and 22 ounces of crack and found with money what may happen please help mother alone

Posted by: | Apr 13, 2008 5:53:27 PM

I am trying to find out if a federal inmate, with a conviction of; felon in possesion of firearm, can recieve 1 year credit after completing the drug program and what the Second Chance Act can do for him. Thanks,

Posted by: S Harrison | Apr 25, 2008 4:49:46 PM

Hi, this is S Harrison again, my e-mail didn't show right...it is the question about the 1 yr. credit & second chance act...thank you again because I need some info on this subject....very important.

Posted by: S Harrison | Apr 25, 2008 4:57:19 PM

i am a former inmate that went thru the drug program and it is a very good program if it iz a want to get help and not a reduction the motto iz it works if u work it and i have been home and sober 2yr so i recommend it

Posted by: chandra dorham | May 4, 2008 5:45:30 PM

I would like to get some information on the requirements for enrollment in the federal drug program. Is there a certain amount of time that one must have left on his sentence in order to qualify? Can an inmate be transferred directly from his local prison to his long term facility and enter directly into the program? Any information would be useful.

Posted by: Lydia | Jul 17, 2008 11:54:55 PM

toshiba satellite 1700 battery

Posted by: | Oct 14, 2008 9:10:48 PM

please help me understand federal laws. my husband just got sentenced 10 yrs. he got charged with drugs and a gun. will he be eligable for drug program or half way house. thanks

Posted by: sylvia estrada | Nov 12, 2008 10:56:57 PM

I would like to get some information on the requirements for enrollment in the federal drug program for my father.
Is there a certain amount of time that one must have left on his sentence in order to qualify?
Can an inmate be transferred directly from his local prison to his long term facility and enter directly into the program?
Any information would be useful.

Posted by: Daniela | Dec 17, 2008 10:13:09 PM

is federal drug program eligible for none volient offener in west virigina

Posted by: tyanna | Apr 6, 2009 10:14:05 AM

im a student, and i would like to know what do you need to do to be able to get that program and what needs to know if you are already in prison with drugs charges

Posted by: maria | Sep 26, 2009 2:26:05 PM

I am a wife of a federal prisoner that has not yet been sentenced. My husband gave me this site to look up info on what to expect and similar caseses. He is being charged with Poss. W/intent to sell aprox 250 grams meth. As well as trafficing cross state lines. He has no criminal record other than two dui's. His case is a circumstantial one as he never actually had the drugs in his possession. He has a great job and a wife (me) and two baby boys that miss him very much. Does he get a break for being a first time offender and having a good job and family? Is there any kind of programs he should be asking for? Is there any hope for less than the federal minimum sentence?

Posted by: Jennifer | Jan 24, 2010 8:21:32 AM

My sister-in-law just got sentenced 120 months for buying pills for her drug habit meth, but they did not catch her with anything on her or for selling. So my main concern is that she did'nt have any information to bust other people like the guy she bought the drugs from, who had snitched on her. her court appointed lawyer was pointless and useless. the judge kept bringing up what the other person had said like that was the God's honest truth, would'nt that be hearsay? Also the lawyer she had let her speak on her own behalf. Does she have grounds to appeal this decision? we need help really bad. she only has another few days to appeal the decision. her so called lawyer said there were no grounds for an appeal. I think there is because he was a joke. he did'nt even comb his hair before court and looked hungover his clothes were all wrinkled it was just a bad deal all the way arround. he did'nt say anything to defend her!!!! I feel she was railroaded and used for an example when you don't make up names to snitch on people. Please can anyone give us advice on what to do next. Thank you so much

Posted by: keeney | Feb 13, 2010 6:02:15 PM


Posted by: MICHAEL LAWSON | Jun 7, 2011 5:16:13 AM


Posted by: MICHAEL LAWSON | Jun 7, 2011 5:18:03 AM

help please!!! my son got 15 yrs for having 27 lortabs on him in walton county florida he has been there 4 yrs now how can i help him?we need him bad at home. just seems like a lot of time for a few pills its crazy. please help if you can

Posted by: lisa jones | Oct 10, 2011 3:38:23 PM

Yes my brother is wondering since his crime is involving a gun when he gets sentenced is he eligable to be part of the drug program and how much time will be takin off. thank you

Posted by: david | Oct 16, 2011 11:38:24 PM

I urgently need information on Federal alternative sentencing. i am charged with 1 count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams of cocaine. the guidelines ask for 5 yrs, my acceptance of responsibility allows the judge to go under that guideline. I,ve gone thru drug treatment,lived in a recovery house & am currently employed as a manager in a 16 women recovery house. I am also going to school full time for socialwork/addiction counseling. I have been clean for 6 months and live everyday for my continued recovery & to help others in their recovery process. My attorney thinks he will be doing a good job for me to get anything under 5 yrs, I am 56 yrs. old & am in 4th stage kidney failure. Is there a type of federal drug court or anything at all that could be an alternative to me actually going to prison?

Posted by: karen moran | Feb 15, 2012 3:27:52 PM

we need some help and as much information as we can get. My family and I are being charged with possesion and conspiracy to manufactor meth. none of us had any pills in our poss or anything else for that matter. They are also trying to put us with people we had no dealings with one whom seems to be snitching on the rest of us to get her sentence reduced. They do have the pharmacy logs but nothing else except for hearsay. What are our options and what kind of sentence are we looking at. is drug court an option or will it help us at all. We are addicts and only feed our habits. and when i say my family it's me, my husband, his sister, his mom, and his nieces and nephews. we would really apperciate any info you could give us.

Posted by: smp | Feb 22, 2012 12:52:29 PM

I want to know is there a certain mount of time do u have to get to enter a drug program like do u got to have a long sentence to qualify or u can have short sentence

Posted by: ms Gregory | Feb 23, 2012 11:36:41 PM

can a federal inmate take the drug class with gun charges and if so what prisons in the US will allow this and is supposed to take a year off their sentence? thank you

Posted by: gail lindsey | Apr 15, 2012 9:29:48 PM

Hello, my brother got sentenced to Moshannon FCI in Philipsburg, Pa. for tax evasion and wire fraud....21 months. First offense, etc etc. He has a drinking problem ever since all this began. How do you qualify for the RDAP program? He is certainly in denial but has come to terms of his addiction. He's self surrendering on July 9th. Thank you.

Posted by: molly | Jun 25, 2012 3:47:39 PM

My fiance is currently waiting for sentencing. He is being charged in connection with a drug conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He has a prior gun possession charge but nothing related to this current case. Some of the co-defendants have gun charges related to this case. My questions to you is, will the prior gun possession charge or the co-defendants current gun charge(s) render him as ineligible for the RDAP program? Will this interfere with his chances? Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Posted by: Tat | Jan 3, 2013 10:21:59 PM

My boyfriend is being held in a Federal Jail with a gun and 500 gram charge. NEVER been in trouble. Yeah he was set up...The police is loving it. They had someone to set him up. In the County jail his bond was 5 million, after being in there for 2 months it was drop to 100,000. HIGH BOND right..I no he has nothing to do with such crap. We are in the state of NC. Could u please help me understand how much time he can get.. He wanna go to trial..IS there such thing as Entrapment? he only had the gun because he is a bondman...

Posted by: michelle | Jun 19, 2013 11:02:29 PM

my boyfriend got sentenced to 24 months in federal prison ..how much time off does he get for good time ... and how does halfway time work as well ..thank you

Posted by: nikki | Oct 11, 2013 7:18:42 PM

My fiance was sentence to a 51 months in prison. Due to a probation violation but under the new law of North Carolina he was never CRV. He never did 90 day. Also the motion of discovery paper that I have never said that he did any sale or trafficking in this matter. Also they don't have any auto or video recording of this matter. I really need your help and so how can I go about getting him out for false imprisonment thank you so much and God bless

Posted by: Kara | Nov 18, 2013 1:25:14 AM

I amam trying to understand a sentencing I witnessed today. The person had plead guilty to a robbery, with having a very lengthy criminal history of drug related charges He was given 120, how much of this time will actually be served, and it was said he has been incarcerated for the last two years. This is confusing research for me.

Posted by: bridgetbp | Jan 21, 2014 5:57:48 PM

I meant 120 months with 2 1/2 years already served prior to sentecing

Posted by: bridgetbp | Jan 21, 2014 5:59:25 PM

hi my husband was sentenced for 2yrs meth charge. He has to do 9 months. I am trying to find out about this law or Act that was signed last year saying on a first time offender drug charge he would only have to do 3 months on his sentence.

Posted by: tara | May 4, 2014 9:00:10 PM

my son got cought up with gang related felonys, he was told by his lawyer to take a 10 year plea to a gun charge even though he n ever touch a gun just because he was present at a place where he thought there was to be a fight . he was ask to come in case his friend get jump, now he has know charges ever except speeding tickes, and the guy that ask him to come testify he was the only one with gun . but my son is serving time for pleaing to firing a fire arm. is there anything that can be done

Posted by: shelly williams | May 21, 2014 6:58:54 PM

My boyfriend got 10 years on a burglary of habitation and did 5 years on it and is 5 months of discharging and has been doing good and working since he's been out and wanted to know if he can get atleast 2 months off his parole since people can get time reductions in prison for good behavior and it shows more better when a parolee is staying out and doing good .can he get a time reduction?

Posted by: samantha | Jul 29, 2014 3:21:43 PM

My dad was sentenced 12 years over a marijuana charge. Is there any possible way I can get that reduced, please?

Posted by: Jorden Braden | Sep 9, 2014 12:32:55 PM

s in the blood of a dieing breed which separates us from the rest, we tend to stray amongst the broken wreckage that one another leave in our wake. Not to pick from the destruction with the desires of a frickin voulture but to absorb the chaotic abandonment and self infliction of life in full throttle, our intentions arent to cause pain to our loved ones yet to gain uncommon loyalty in the few that remain the pillars of history in our lives. :: Push Pull Strive. :: CANT STOP WONT STOP. :: con love eNe Respeto loved Ones por vida. :: for those that comprehend> . :: V

Posted by: victor | Nov 8, 2014 3:51:38 AM

My finance just signed a plea for a 60 month sentence in a federal prison for felon in possession of a firearm. Are there any programs out there that he can do to help reduce his sentence. He does have priors on his records but it is a burglary non violent and he completed his probation for that charge. he did have a prior drug problem. he has five children who need him home. Please help. We are in Horry county SC and this is the most messed up system I have ever seen in my life. Also when they raided the house how do I go about getting the safe back with all my belongings in it? Please help. He is still sitting in county jail now, what will the process be from here. and exactly how long will he have to be gone?

Posted by: Laura | Dec 10, 2014 1:38:20 PM

Please help my brother have 15 years sentence for a gun charge how can he do less time ?????

Posted by: lopez | Jan 20, 2015 11:07:30 PM

Please help
My brother have a 15 years Sentence for a gun charge how can he do less time ????

Posted by: lopez | Jan 20, 2015 11:12:03 PM

I have a question I was told that they changed the law and now federal inmates only have to do 65% of there time now it use to b 85% but changed to 65% a new law is this true.

Posted by: Lisa Barker | Feb 6, 2015 2:19:05 PM

My husband and I have been indicted on gun charges. He's a ex convicted felon and I am not. I purchased firearms to protect our family after being threatened by a notorious motorcycle gang after doing a job for them and I stated that I would take them to court if they didn't pay us for the work we completed. After the threat I bought firearms for protection and now after the ATF raided our home and found the firearms in a locked safe the government now says they have an agent who can testify to the fact that he was seen in possession of a gun. I also am being charged for conspiracy charges and him felon in possession after conviction. We paid a lot of money to these 2 attorneys to help and they want us to take a plea. After reading the discovery file the facts are weak at best but our attorneys are becoming useless. What can we do? What can be done? Help anyone

Posted by: Anamarie | Feb 27, 2015 11:34:36 PM

Hi, my boyfriend was set up during a drug buy by someone who was wearing a wire. 3 days later deu came and kicked the door in. They charged him with possession and distribution and 8 attempted murder, he sat in jail 21 days them when he attorney was getting bond set for him they came with 2 more fun charges. They have dropped all charges except fun charges and the feds picked them up. He signed a plea for 60 months max being 5 years. He said he was told a new law passed that now you only pull 71%. Is this true how long will he have to do? He had been sitting in County jail since October and is now March.

Posted by: Laura Grainger | Mar 25, 2015 1:57:24 PM

***gun***felon in possession of firearm

Posted by: Laura Grainger | Mar 25, 2015 1:59:05 PM

I would just like to know gun charges were dropped on my son but he has a drug charge if the still inhanse him for the guns can he still take drug class and would it still go towards good time

Posted by: Carla | Mar 26, 2015 8:53:18 PM

Please help my husband does NOT have a criminal record but was arrested 15 times on drug related charges he in now in jail and the DA said if he doesn't take the 18 month in house drug program he will do a lot of time in jail and get class E felony. Is this true? Is there any other alternative?

Posted by: Marlene Mojica | Mar 30, 2015 11:55:43 PM


Posted by: Marlene Mojica | Mar 30, 2015 11:57:14 PM

My boyfriend is in FCI BECKLEY in Beaver West VA He went in on May 7th 2015 his release date is October 24th 2018 how much time does he have to do And will the drug program help him how much time will the program take off Please answer me back Thank You

Posted by: Fredia Sifford | Jun 8, 2015 5:53:44 PM

I will like to know how can my husband get 138 years on the so claim charges they have on him...they have 10 charges some felonies n sum misdemeanors...he has four kids out here that miss him so much n needs their father n I need my husband. And things not adding up with the charges they have on him...I think they railroading my husband..so please help me!!!

Posted by: Mrs. Minniefield | Sep 5, 2015 10:43:07 AM

My daughter is to begin, 26 years of her life in prison. She was arrested for manufacturing Methamphetamines, and for selling crack.
She got caught up with a man that did drugd. She did drugs 1 and a half years of her life. She abandoned her children. Her teeth rotted.
She took 5 yrs.probation, but if she got in trouble within 5 yrs, she would serve 26 yrs. She didn't last 5 months. God help us. She went to a 30 day court ordered Rehab.
They let her out in 3 weeks. She is a heavy herein addict. Why did they let her out. There's no doubt that she needed the whole 30 days, and then some. Please help me. She has 2 children ages 8 and 12. I need guidance to guide her, and give her advice. Thank you.

Posted by: Ronna Geddes | Sep 28, 2015 4:45:29 AM

Hello.. my bother got cought up with a gun and drugs his on home confirmed bail now. And this is his first time how many years will he severe
And he also have a pay lawyer

Posted by: jay | Nov 11, 2015 12:12:05 PM

My best friend has done twenty-five years for a drug charge trying to find out what he qualifies for under the new guidelines and it was not a violent crime please contact me on where to look to help him come home. Love-one

Posted by: Kim Lee | Dec 14, 2015 5:13:22 PM

Can you please email me at the address I provided? I've tried to type out my situation three times and it will not post its entirety. Thanks so much!

Posted by: Rachel | Dec 15, 2016 5:02:05 PM

My son has already done the 9 month rehab program in federal prison Now he is back in the judge ordered the same program can he take it again and get ll months early release also
can a warrant keep you from going to a camp this ordered was made by a federal judge in Kansas ciy

Posted by: Janice Hollingsworth | Jan 13, 2017 12:32:58 AM

how do you get your questions answered is it by e-mail

Posted by: Janice Hollingsworth | Jan 13, 2017 12:35:14 AM

If my cousin was sentenced to 7 1/2 yrs, but has 3 1/2 of back time on it, He was told that with good time reduction and completing RDAP he would have early release, How much more time will he be in there for ?

Posted by: Jesse | Mar 28, 2017 6:54:07 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB