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500 Hour Residential Drug Abuse Program and Guns - A Way Out or A Way In?

The Bureau of Prisons prohibits a defendant who receives a two level increase for possessing a gun from receiving the sentence reduction attached as a bonus to completing the 500 Hour Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). Some district court judges have been writing a separate letter to the Bureau of Prisons urging them to accept a person into the 500 Hour Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) if the defendant did not himself possess the gun but instead a co-defendant possessed the gun. However, it now appears a district court judge can put the information in the Statement of Reasons section of the Judgment Order, which the Bureau of Prisons is required to follow if the Statement of Reasons pertains to an aspect of Bureau of Prisons confinement and so a separate letter would not be required.

Every lawyer who has a defendant who was increased under the guidelines for possessing a gun due to actual possession by a co-defendant should take heed of this advice and seek a written clarification of the facts of the case by the district court judge in the Statement of Reasons section of the Judgment Order. In doing so, a defendant may be allowed into the 500 Hour Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) and could receive up to one year off of his or her original sentence.

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