Drug Treatment in Prison: A Harsh Regime | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Drug Treatment in Prison: A Harsh Regime

The Residential Drug Abuse Program demands exacting standards of behavior, prisoners tell The Fix.

Image: 

Play by the rules—or else. Photo via

By Seth Ferranti

10/25/12

| Share

In a federal prison's RDAP unit, the residents are expected to aspire to high standards of living. Adhering to all the usual institutional rules and regulations isn't enough; participants are given an additional set of dictates on personal behavior, appearance and cleanliness. "You have to wear you khaki prison-issued uniform all day, from 7:30 am to 4 pm, and it has to be pressed, ironed and neat," one prisoner tells The Fix. "Your cell has to be inspection-ready when you get up, and you can't lie down at all during the day until after the 4 pm count. During programming hours [8-11 a.m] you can't leave the unit or use the phone or email. No commissary, no work, no nothing. Only treatment and recovery. They're preparing you for the streets and everything is restricted." He continues, "Little things that you get away with in other units are big things in the drug unit. RDAP can be vicious if you aren't on point. You're held in constant fear of losing your release date. They even say, when you make a decision, consider whether it will affect your earliest projected release date."

If RDAP participants break the rules, disciplinary actions apply. Sanctions can include behavioral contracts that target problematic attitudes or behaviors—as well as just about any other remedy the staff decides is relevant. "I had to write 150 sentences once because I went to take a piss during community without asking permission," the prisoner says. "You have to comply to their every whim. If you violate the rules, they can make you write sentences or stand up in community and humble and humiliate yourself. If you really piss them off they will set your release date back or kick you out of the program. It pays not to make any enemies—staff or prisoner—because they will just jack off your date." The RDAP coordinator may remove a participant for disruptive behavior or unsatisfactory progress. A resident normally gets a formal warning first. But this becomes unnecessary if his lack of compliance is serious enough for his continued presence to create an immediate or ongoing problem for staff and other prisoners.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Normies React to the 12 Steps

"I think admitting to having a problem in general is the right first step, but to admit powerlessness is unhealthy. .. I think admitting powerlessness is more harmful because it doesn't help. Admitting that you want and need help is more useful after admittance."

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea
 
 
 
 

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu
 
 
 
 

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv