Tell Federal Prisons to Help 51,000 Inmates Awaiting Drug Addiction Treatment

Target: Charles E. Samuels, Jr., Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons

Goal: Revise the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) in order to help drug-addicted prisoners recover faster and stay clean longer.

According to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office, only one third of drug offenders in federal prisons are receiving treatment to overcome their addictions. The treatment program is known as the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) and has a waiting list that is currently 51,000 inmates long. If an inmate successfully completes treatment through the RDAP, he or she often qualifies for up to a year off their sentence and sometimes a six-month residency at a halfway house after their release. Because so many inmates are on the extremely long waiting list, however, they may not even begin treatment until they have already served over a decade of their sentence and are close to their release date.

It is also due to the policies of the Bureau of Prisons and the requirements of the treatment program that so many prisoners are forced to wait until they are 28 months short of their release to enter into the program. The lack of availability of treatment in a timely manner is problematic for numerous reasons. Considering the fact that drugs are widely available within prisons combined with years of waiting for treatment, a prisoner’s chances of becoming—and more importantly, staying—clean are small. If the RDAP was available sooner to more prisoners, the likelihood of them successfully combating their addictions for good increases while decreasing the recidivism rate.

Many prisoners with drug addictions want to get clean but lack the resources and support to successfully do so. By signing the petition below you are telling the Bureau of Prisons to revise their Residential Drug Abuse Program to meet these needs so that prisoners can re-enter the world as healthy, contributing members of society.


Dear Mr. Samuels,

The current state of the Residential Drug Abuse Programs in the federal prison system is failing to live up to its own goals and the needs of drug-addicted prisoners. A recent study by the Government Accountability Office reported that only one third of drug offenders in federal prisons are receiving treatment to overcome their addictions. Furthermore, the waiting list for the RDAP is over 51,000 inmates long. The fact that prisoners must wait until their sentences are nearly over to receive help is counterintuitive to treatment and even dangerous to an individual’s health.

Revising the Bureau’s policies on the RDAP will be beneficial in many ways. Of course it will directly benefit the individual with a drug addiction by increasing their chances of becoming and staying clean. It will also cut back on drug trafficking and drug abuse within the prisons, which is also likely to reduce misconduct and violence between inmates. It is a longer-term solution that helps a former inmate’s chances of employment, education, and successful re-entry into the community. All of these outcomes will clearly have positive effects on the larger society as well.

We ask that you revise the policies regarding drug treatment in federal prisons so that more inmates can receive the help they need now. Their own health and the health of our communities is at stake.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: sakhorn38 via

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  1. Rehabilitation is the positive way to go, while incarceration just compounds the negative in our society.

  2. Delvia Logan says:

    Let’s make drugs less of a law violation than it is now. If you make a habit legal then it is not as much fun or whatever. Also, put some effort into real drug rehab not places like Passages of Malibu.

  3. Cristina Davies says:

    I do not think making drugs legal will reduce the use (opposite thing happend with tabaco).
    If those prisoners can improve for them selves of fot society, it is possitive to help them. If we think about who`s fault it is that they use drugs, them maybe drug dealers should be in their place, and maybe many people who make a society where those with no lucky lives don`t get support from friends, teachers or neighbords, but bullings or hate faces that make them more sad and potencial victims for drug business.

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