Program Theory Eastern District of New York STAR Program

Date:  2021-05-24 10:13:55
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Besides offering a platform for analyzing evaluation questions, program theory is a major component of the program that is being assessed. Ideally, a program theory entails a set of concepts that should be implemented to enhance the success of a particular initiative. Most social issues addressed by program theory are complicated. A slight alteration in the implementation process might culminate into formidable obstacles. Therefore, enhancing the efficiency of the program theory is fundamental in ensuring that a particular initiative attains the intended outcomes. In this regard, the assessment of the Eastern District of New York STAR program using the program theory elaborates its effectiveness in improving the social conditions of its target group.

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Critical Components of the STAR Program

The late Chief Judge Charles Sifton incorporated the first STAR (Supervision to Aid Re-entry) court several years ago. Consequently, other judges introduced their STAR courts, which focused on offering supervisees critical information concerning substance abuse. Such documented histories minimize the instances of recidivism upon the completion of a prison sentence (Alternatives to Incarceration, 2015, p. 80). Probation officers, judges, defense attorneys, cognitive behavioral therapy, and participants are the critical components of the STAR program. Mainly, probation officers monitor the participants. They recommend the termination of supervision if the participants complete the entire program successfully.

Participants in the STAR Court program have the responsibility of working hard to ensure positive life changes such as obtaining an education, securing a job, and overcoming addictions. All these alterations in their behavior guarantee that they evolve into productive members of the society (Alternatives to Incarceration, 2015, p. 49). Moreover, the judges make important re-entry decisions according to the behavior of the participants. In most cases, they utilize a graduated system of sanctions to rule on misconduct. For instance, they may issue a reprimand, call for a curfew, or order the participant to appear in court frequently (Alternatives to Incarceration, 2015, p. 78). As well, the defense attorneys provide pro bono legal services to the participants of the STAR program, which results in life changing outcomes. For example, the attorneys offer child support issues, financial aid, housing, and tackle identity theft problems. Finally, cognitive behavior therapy is another essential construct of the STAR program. Utilizing the evidence-based practice offers the perfect opportunity for minimizing recidivism and transforming the lives of offenders (Alternatives to Incarceration, 2015, p. 51).

Specific Function of the Program


The core mission of the STAR program entails developing a post-sentence initiative supervised by judges, which seeks to guide and reward offenders with drug and alcohol problems as they reenter the community. According to Marlowe (2010), such is the mission and objective of other adult drug courts (p. 2).


The primary aims of this program involve helping the offenders to reunite with their families, ensure they make positive changes in the society, help the criminals obtain an education or job, prevent recurrent patterns of poor decision-making, and ensuring the released convicts battle their addictions.

Measurable Objectives (SMART Assessment)

The objectives of the STAR program are specific since they focus on transforming the social and economic welfare of offenders, which aids their reintegration into the society. As well, the objectives are measurable. One of its core goals involves a reduction of the recidivism. Therefore, obtaining data concerned with the recidivism rates in the society is crucial in ascertaining the success or failure of the program. Moreover, the objectives of helping the offenders overcome addiction and assisting them to attain a job or education are achievable. Besides, the scope of this program is limited and conforms to the available resources. The objectives of most adult court initiatives such as enhancing the social and economic welfare of the offenders are relevant since they complement the overall strategy of bolstering an active reentry process (Marlowe, 2010, p. 3). Finally, the objectives of the STAR program are not time-bound. Instead, the completion of the program depends on the commitment and behavioral change of the offenders.

Organizational and Service Utilization Plans

Organizational Plan

In theory, the organizational plan of a program embodies the activities and functions that are executed to ensure the attainment of desired outcomes. As well, this plan involves human, physical, and financial resources that are crucial for performance (Rossi, Lipsey, & Freeman, 2004). Activities in the STAR program include court sessions and cognitive behavioral therapies. Probation officers, judges, and defense attorney offer then required human input while the courts are examples of physical input. The Bureau of Prisons and other agencies in the Department of Probation provide the necessary capital to foster the feasibility of the program.

Service Utilization Plan

An effective service utilization plan should elucidate how and why the recipients of a particular program should maintain their commitment to the time of receiving the services, which trigger the change process (Rossi et al., 2004, p. 143). Mainly, this plan focuses on the life spaces of the targets. For the STAR program, the sequence of activities in the service utilization plan will include the release of offenders from prison, enrolment in the STAR program, court sessions, cognitive behavioral therapy, and reentry into the society.

Program Conceptualization

In most cases, a program with weak conceptualization is susceptible to failure. Hence, the prevalence of a weak program theory dismisses the need to evaluate the projects efficiency (Rossi et al., 2004, p. 180). For the STAR program, the goals and objectives are clear and complement the core mission of the initiative, which involves minimizing recidivism. Moreover, the organization and service utilization plans are well-structured and efficient, which bolster the successful implementation of activities. Finally, the availability of adequate resources due to increased cost savings offers a perfect blueprint for the effective management and sustainability of the program.

Logical Model


The Bureau of Prisons and the Probation Department recommend offenders that are eligible for the program. As well, these institutions provide the necessary resources such as the human input and funds required to execute the entire program.


The program organizes for court sessions, which include the participants, probation officers, defense attorney, and the members to discuss the progress of the offenders. As well, the participants attend cognitive therapy sessions to help them modify their behavior.


Offenders that complete a prison sentence participate in the program to foster a smooth reentry process.


One of the immediate results of the STAR program involves the criminals attaining appropriate knowledge and skills to fight their addiction problems and their tendency to revert to criminal activities (Rossi et al., 2004, p. 141). A core long-term outcome concerns the fact that the offenders transform their lives and completely and make positive contributions to the society.

To conclude, understanding the concepts of program theory is an integral element in evaluating and assessing the performance of a program. Besides, it breeds flexibility and cushion against adverse implications that arise from a slight adjustment in program activities. An analysis of the Eastern District of New York STAR program reflects on its success in changing the conduct of the offenders and fostering their effective reintegration into the community. However, introducing a time limit for the entire program will be an effective way of improving the efficiency of the program.


Alternatives to Incarceration in the Eastern District of New York: The Pretrial Opportunity Program and The Special Options Service Program. (2015). Retrieved from

Marlowe, D. B. (2010). Research update on adult drug courts. Need to Know.

Rossi, P. H., Lipsey, M. W., & Freeman, H. E. (2004). Expressing and assessing program theory. Evaluation: A systematic approach, 7, 133-168.

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