RDAP – The Granddaddy of Sentence Reduction

Sentence Reduction Opportunities

Within the BOP, there are very few opportunities for sentence reduction. Other than the 15% off for good time, meaning no behavior infarctions, there is a program known as RDAP. RDAP can provide significant sentence reduction. Depending on how long an inmate has been sentenced, one can get up to a year off their sentence, and up to one year of halfway house placement. This reduction is significant. As a result of the potential 2-year sentence reduction, the RDAP program is highly sought after by inmates.


So, what exactly is RDAP? RDAP is a residential drug addiction program for inmates with substance abuse issues. It is a 9-month, intensive cognitive behavioral program to be completed in prison. It is followed by a 4-month TDAP program, which is completed when the inmate is in the halfway house, or in home confinement. TDAP is not as intense, and consists of a weekly meeting.

The focus of the program is behavior, as the bulk of substance abuse issues tie into behavior based choice issues. The evidence-based RDAP program has a great success rate with getting inmates off substances, and also preventing reentry into the prison system.

The importance of your PSI and PSR

Like many other things related to federal prison, there are many rumors and misconceptions about RDAP. First of all, admission to the program is very straight forward. To qualify for RDAP, your PSR( Pre-sentence Report) must indicate alcohol or drug abuse, one year prior to your indictment. It is imperative that you relay this information to the probation officer who is conducting your PSI (Pre-sentence Interview). If this substance abuse is not documented in the PSR, you will not qualify for RDAP. Most criminal defense attorneys are not aware of this fact, so be proactive on your own behalf and don’t just assume your attorney will know all about RDAP and how to qualify for RDAP.

Your “interview” for RDAP occurs during your PSI. This is an example of why it’s important to bring your personal narrative to the PSI. One of the sections of your personal narrative is “Substance Abuse”. In this section, your substance abuse, occurring the year prior to your indictment, needs to be clearly stated. Meaning if you were indicted on May 21, 2022, documentation of substance abuse needs to be from May 21, 2021 to May 21, 2022. In my circumstance, the probation officer copied and pasted my “Substance Abuse” section into the PSR. This is ideal and may not happen for all. However, by the probation officer having documentation of the time frame of the substance abuse should reduce mistakes with your PSI and RDAP qualification assessment.

Be honest

I want to emphasize the importance of your honesty. Please be honest about your substance abuse. If your attorney is telling you not to mention your substance abuse because it will look bad in front of the judge, your attorney is doing you a massive disservice, and may cause you to serve a longer sentence. So many inmates I have met are devastated because they do not qualify for RDAP, due to their attorneys telling them to minimize their substance abuse.

Significant sentence reduction

Many of these inmates had no idea about RDAP prior to coming to prison. It’s disappointing that many criminal defense attorneys have no idea about RDAP and are causing their clients to serve longer sentences. Let’s look at an example of sentence reduction with RDAP. If someone is given a 48-month sentence, the 15% good time takes off 7.2 months. After completion of RDAP, he would get another 12 months off, and for this example, assume the person qualifies for 6 months of halfway house time. The 48-month sentence has been reduced to 22.8 months, meaning a 4-year sentence can now be completed in less than 2 years. I have seen inmates get the full 12 months of halfway house time, and serving 16.8 months on a 48-month sentence. Now you can see the benefits of RDAP in numbers?

Until next time,

Shan Sultan



Shan Sultan worked as a medical doctor for 10 years before receiving a 48-month sentence for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. Shan was designated to Lewisburg Camp.          



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