Danny Cosby knows firsthand how drugs and alcohol can keep people locked in a cycle of crime. He and his son both faced their own addiction issues and served time in prison. Now he helps others in the same situation.
Cosby was a treatment manager at CoreCivic’s Whiteville Correctional Facility in Tennessee and has been counseling people with substance use disorders for 22 years. He now works at CoreCivic’s Facility Support Center in Nashville.
“When I’m with these inmates, I don’t see myself as any better of a person than they are,” Cosby said. “I’m just someone who chose to do a couple of things right. There’s a reason I am 38 years sober. I made a choice early on.”
Separated from Whiteville’s general population, the inmates in Cosby’s program are part of a therapeutic community
using the same nationally recognized Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) curriculum offered by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
Each inmate gets a set of seven interactive journals published by The Change Companies, which help them learn skills like rational thinking, living with others, developing healthy lifestyles, maintaining their recovery and transitioning back to life outside prison.
“This program works,” Cosby said. “I’ve done this for a long time with CoreCivic. I’ve seen thousands of inmates. The majority of the inmates I see don’t come back.”
Inmates who participate in the RDAP curriculum can lower their chances of returning to prison by 16 percent, according to the BOP. The Bureau last year expanded its own RDAP regulations to increase inmate access to the program.
Cosby said he has seen inmates complete his program and go on to mentor others. One even completed a half marathon.
“We ran for two-and-a-half hours,” he said. “Inmates were dropping off. The inmate beside me was about to quit, but he looked at me and said, ‘I’ve never finished anything in my life.’ He pushed himself and pushed himself — and he finished.
“We need to help encourage one another and look at what we’re doing right,” he added. “We’ve got to remind ourselves the difference we can make in a person’s life.”