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COOPS Weekly - Life from Kansas #7

Updated: Jan 15

Free Seats to new releases. One catch. If you don’t like movie, you cannot go home.

One of the funniest examples of prison to date. I was watching tv and a preview for Wakanda Forever. I mumbled rather loudly that I hate missing movies (and watching FOX news...which is the preferred news station of the Leavenworth Camp). EVERYONE knows I love movies....The guy next me turns and says we are watching Wakanda Forever tonight...A DOUBLE FEATURE....Black Adam then Wakanda Forever!!!! WHAT, CMON??? I didn’t believe it....only in prison. I’m going to keep opening my mouth. I Just finished watching both movies. Tonight, was a good night.

Justin Paperny and Michael Santo of Prison Professors and White-Collar Advice and their team have been beyond helpful in getting me ready for camp.


This newsletter is about RDAP since that is the number one question, I am getting from everyone. "What is RDAP, what does it entail?" [Dad comment - RDAP (Residential Drug Abuse Program). At Leavenworth Camp the RDAP program is housed in separate dorm space).

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention I got into a bit of trouble this Monday afternoon. I promised to be completely honest but some of the rules in RDAP are difficult to follow. Many rules only apply in the RDAP unit, they do not apply anywhere else in the prison. One of the rules is you are not allowed to lie in your bed during the day. It is possible but not easy to get a medical pass to be able to lie in bed during the day. Everything is a process and I’m still getting over detoxing from legal medications (I am about at 75%).

I was one of about 20/25 inmates caught in bed at 1:55pm (the cutoff is 2pm). Trivial....absolutely....but it is one of the rules. So rather than the entire unit get in trouble I was one of about 10 people that came forward (when called out) and stood up taking blame. Hardly heroic, but still something that I needed to come forward for. I have had back, pelvic, and nerve problems since I was 25.

Every place I have worked in the real world... I have needed to stretch and lay down at times throughout the day (even in my suit and tie). The only thing that helps me is rest. There is no physical therapy in prison. Although there are several doctors here and for 20 stamps you can get adjusted by a DR/Chiro (although it hardly seems safe...I will not be trying that). Being on a top bunk is anything but’s quite a process to get up on it every yes, I was laying down 5 minutes early and was caught. My punishment is no bunk time during the day whatsoever until further notice. That’s life in prison camp.

My RDAP Experience

Wow where do I start. I was prepared for so many things. But I thought RDAP would be a breeze. It is not...its intense. RDAP is different for every person. The difficulty is determined by each individual. I haven’t worked this hard since college and I’m only PRE- RDAPPING

Dr. Wells is the head of the program along with 4 full time staff called DTS staff. There are close to 100 participants. My DTS Staff head is Ms. Katz. She is is the rest of the staff. I have found them to be tough but fair. As I mentioned I am not a fan of all the RDAP rules (certain ways you need to dress, no lying down, permission to use the restroom, lots of waiting around). Too many rules to list here. Basically, it follows a military regimen. Things folded a certain way, locker/living area to be always clean, penalties for being late or unacceptable behavior. It’s been a big adjustment for me. However, I do recognize there are areas in which I can improve so I am trying to turn this into an opportunity to grow

RDAP consists of meetings 5 days a week. A morning meeting with the entire group starts @ 7am..this includes reporting on the weather and current news. Already on my 4th week I have spoken to the group at least 1/2 a dozen times. I enjoy public speaking, but I will admit I have been nervous...this is not your typical crowd. By the end of RDAP I’m told you are absolutely at ease speaking in front of groups...If we did nothing else this would be a huge win. What a great skill set to work on. You work on areas you need improvement and get up and speak to the group on these issues. At 8:15am You then break up into smaller groups that provide for more in depth discussion on all matters related to addiction. You break for lunch at around 10/10:30.

Each day has a morning meeting and then different classes on a myriad of topics (behaviors, negative influences, substance abuse, willpower, etc.). You give presentations on all sorts of topics, and you also write skits and monologues for varying topics. We even do air band occasionally to make sure you have zero embarrassment left. Can you imagine doing air bands with other inmates? I can’t even begin to describe it. I will never be embarrassed of anything in my life moving forward. People get into it.

You are required to dress in all greens (the prison work uniform). The meetings are very formal in structure and regiment. If you get something wrong, you are forced to do it again or some additional work can be assigned. As I mentioned there are a myriad of rules that you need to follow. Some people quit the program because of the workload, or they don’t like being told they have to do things a certain way. Ultimately most people do it for the time off it provides (up to a year in certain time only allows me to get as much as 6/9 months off my sentence).

As for the formal introduction to RDAP...the following applies: RDAP is the BOP's most intensive treatment program. Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT is used in a modified therapeutic model where inmates experience living in a pro social community. CBT is about understanding & providing insight as to why a person abuses drugs or alcohol in the first place. RDAP participants live in a separate unit from the general population, they participate in 1/2-day programing and 1/2 work, school and vocational activities. RDAP is typically 9 months in duration.

The BOP and National Institute on Drug Abuse combined funding and expertise to conduct a rigorous analysis of the BOP's RDAP. Research findings demonstrate participants are less likely to recidivate and less likely to relapse to drug use than non-participants. The study also suggests that the BOP's RDAP makes a significant difference in the lives of offenders following release from custody and return to the community.

NOT SO FUN FACTS provided by RDAP counselors

-2 out of 3 inmates Will be back in prison within 2 years of leaving (NOT ME)

- Every day over 2000 inmates is released from prisons.

- The average sentence in a camp is over 4 years - Most offenders at Lompoc Prison Camp have gun or drug charges.

Comments from Dad

Just got word that Scott has secured a lower bunk. Celebration is in order. All of you know about Scott’s back problems which began his journey for relief with opioids. Which led to this and led to that. So, it is a big deal.

I join Scott in wishing all a happy thanksgiving. Hopefully this will be the only one without Scott visiting with all of us.

Weekly newsletter. week 7
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