The Cobb District Attorney‘s office distributed a public information release (which we’ve reprinted below) about a program to provide a reduced rate or free counseling services to people eligible for diversion programs.
Diversion programs, like Cobb County’s accountability courts, are alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders whose behavioral issues are best served through counseling and treatment, not jail or prison time.
The program highlighted below, administered by Richmont Graduate University’s new Restorative Justice Program, allows participants in Cobb’s diversion programs to receive the counseling they need whether or not they have the resources to pay.
Here is the public information release:
Cobb County District Attorney Flynn D. Broady, Jr. announces that the District Attorney’s Diversion Program will be the first recipient of Richmont Graduate University’s new Restorative Justice Program. The funding for Richmont’s program was made possible through a $35,000.00 donation provided to establish funding for this vital initiative. The program will allow eligible diversion program applicants, who choose Richmont for counseling services, to receive counseling sessions at reduced rates. Additionally, based on a case by case basis, the program would completely cover the fees of those unable to pay the reduced rates.
The cost of a regular counseling session through Richmont is normally $125.00. Through its Restorative Justice Program, the counseling sessions rates would be reduced to between $5.00 and $35.00 per session. Eligible diversion participants will be offered a reduced rate of $15 to receive court mandated evaluations. These evaluations typically cost anywhere between $100 to $300 depending on the location.
The average cost per counseling session in the US and Georgia is between $100 to $200 per session. Those in the District Attorney’s Diversion Program are often recommended to complete a minimum of eight to fourteen therapy sessions. Most diversion participants must pay for counseling out of pocket which can be quite costly.
Currently, there are ten eligible diversion participants who are benefitting from the Richmont Program. Based on the initial funding given to the program, it is estimated between 180 to 270 clients will benefit in the first year of Richmont University’s New Restorative Justice Program. Programs such as this bring much need equity and equality to our criminal justice system, removing economic barriers that prevent offenders from being fully restored to the community.
University President Timothy Quinnan noted: “Richmont strives to facilitate spiritual growth, mental health, and relational healing with our counseling services. We are thankful for the donation which allowed us to start our Restorative Justice Program. There is a redemptive power in counseling. We hope this program will help restore hope and opportunity for the participants. People should not be hindered from the healing they seek due to monetary constraints.”
District Attorney Broady stated, “This commitment from Richmont Graduate University is revolutionary for our diversion program. It will bring equity to many people seeking the benefit of recovery and positive changes in their lives,”