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Drug Treatment in Prison: Core Treatment

Prisoners tell The Fix that Phase II of RDAP covers communication and self-analysis: are you a dominator, neglector or manipulator? 

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By Seth Ferranti

11/09/12

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After navigating Phase I: Orientation, Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) participants are expected to continue building positive relationships with other prisoners and staff. Phase II consists of two segments of 11 weeks each. "2A is about rational thinking and learning how to do an RSA (Rational Self Analysis)," one RDAP prisoner tells The Fix. "An RSA is a tool you can use when you don't feel the way you want to feel and you aren't doing the things you want to do. It challenges those beliefs so that you start thinking more rationally." Each prisoner is required to demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between his thoughts, feelings and behaviors. By understanding his habit formation and his roadblocks to positive attitudes, the idea is that he'll then comprehend the harmful effects of manipulation and grandiosity, the advantages and disadvantages of criminal behavior, and the effects of his criminal behavior on others.

"It also deals with criminal lifestyles which focuses on the criminal thinking errors," the prisoner says. "I realized in 2A that I'm not just here for the time off [a sentence reduction of up to a year], that I have a problem with the way I think and my beliefs. It made me realize that if I want to change my life, I need to change my beliefs." By practicing RSAs and actively applying them to criminal thinking, participants develop effective communication strategies. "2B deals with costs and payoffs of criminal behavior and drug use," the prisoner says. "It also covers living with others, which teaches you to see the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships and it opens your eyes to what roles you play—like dominator, neglector or manipulator. I learned I am a manipulator and dominator, and that people won't change until the costs outweigh the payoffs."

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