STAR DRUG COURT PROGRAM
Criminal Justice Building, 1201 Franklin, Houston, Texas 77007
20th Floor 832/927-4320
KEITH H. LILES, BA, LCDC, ADC III, ICADC, MAC
Program Manager & Clinical Director
PAMELA THOMAS, MBA, BSE, LCDC-I, CPL
The Success Through Addiction Recovery (STAR) program bridges the gap between criminal justice and therapeutic approaches to defendants with drug dependencies. STAR treats non-violent, repeat drug offenders to reduce the costs of continuing drug abuse and possible future crimes.
STAR’s four dockets serve the needs of over 140 clients annually. Hon. Judge Katherine Cabaniss presides over the STAR I docket, Hon. Judge Vanessa Velasquez serves on the STAR II docket, Hon. Judge Maria T. Jackson presides over the STAR III docket and Hon. Judge Denise Bradley serves on the STAR IV docket.
Defendants receive innovative and intensive individualized supervision by the court team and treatment providers. The client, case manager and treatment provider may implement rehabilitative treatment facilities, social services, health care providers, and other programs when creating and updating an individual treatment plan. STAR employs a graduated system of incentives and sanctions to reward and re-direct client behavior. The program encourages participants to attain education and employment goals by offering seminars, GED tutoring, and employment specialists. Each client’s goals are discussed and monitored to ensure success in both completing the program and conquering the addiction.
STAR consists of a three-phase intensive, highly structured treatment program, followed by a 12-month aftercare program. During all phases, participants attend 12-step programs or an approved alternative, participate in group and individual treatment and counseling programs, submit to frequent random drug testing, and appear frequently before their judge.
Depending on the specific needs of the client, case managers refer clients to additional counseling sessions to assist in resolving the underlying issues of their dependency. Many providers offer gender-specific workshops including anger management, domestic violence, parenting, and programs that promote the overall health and welfare of the clients. Specific needs are met through referrals to mental health and health services, family counseling through family groups and Strengthening Families, housing and transportation assistance.
Graduates have their cases disposed of on a case-by-case basis by the STAR program judges. All graduates have at least six months of sobriety and must be either employed or a full-time student. Graduates participate in a STAR alumni group that meets monthly to discuss long-term recovery goals and innovative ways to aid current participants.
Many local facilities contract with STAR to offer various kinds of treatment, counseling, and support programs. STAR relies heavily on the support from community groups, volunteers, faith-based organizations, and local donations.
Simply put, Drug Court programs are more cost effective than traditional incarcerations by reducing recidivism. Further, Drug Courts save money by preventing future arrests and incarcerations.