Eighty-five percent of those in prison have drug- and alcohol-related issues, but inmates who receive substance abuse treatment while incarcerated are less likely to return to prison. The Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program (RDAP) at the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility in Nashville, Tenn. is a vital program that helps inmates along the road to recovery.
A study performed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation looked at offenders who were paroled between 2011 and 2012. The recidivism rate after three years for those who completed treatment in prison and the aftercare programs was 31.3% versus 63.7% for all inmates. These results show the difference that programs like RDAP can make.
RDAP is an intensive rehabilitative program that is focused on addiction, as well as the criminal element of addiction. Participants work together to reinforce “right living” using an evidence-based approach. The sessions occur in a group setting with inmates who are in different phases of their treatment. Depending on their development, the program can last anywhere from nine to 12 months.
For program manager Kenneth Williams, rehabilitation is the ultimate goal. He says, “If you go into prison with one thinking, and leave with the same thinking, you’re going to do the same thing.”
That is why RDAP focuses on changing mindsets. Addiction is one of the most difficult challenges for any person to face, but Williams is set on finding ways to engage and motivate inmates so they can see there’s a better life. He and his counselors work hard to train the staff, monitor program development, make halfway house placements and find education opportunities for those in the program.
“One day, they’re going to get out, so why not try to treat them? Why not try to help them? Not just lock them up,” he says.
Treatment begins inside prison walls, but its effects can last a lifetime. Williams adds, “We’re going to teach you something different. We’re going to show you that when you have the urge to use drugs, there’s a way to deal with it.”