Diversion is supposed to help people. Diversion is supposed to be an alternative to jail. It’s supposed to counsel clients into turning away from what ever they did to get into Diversion. FORGET THAT!!! Diversion is now about ‘checking in’, not therapy, not helping people, not about anything except earning a paycheck for the ‘Counselors’ who meet with Diversion clients. Last time in Diversion, counselors talked to you, they asked you questions about your life. You were able to ask the Counselors about their lives, and get interested answers. The whole process took 10 minutes, but at least you were a real person to the Diversion Counselors, and you felt like you had a friend in Diversion.
Now, you have no friend, no nothing, just an impersonal contact with someone who is suspicious of you, not someone looking for the good in you. Talk about bad changes in good programs. This really doesn’t help anyone at all.
The ironic aspect of the downgrading of Diversion has to do with the space they function in. It is part of the District Attorney’s office complex in the old Tulane high rise, where the D.A. has been since Katrina flooded their building. Now the D.A. is finally back in their renovated building. So Diversion, which had a tiny corner of the D.A.’s space, now has all kinds of space. You used to meet with your Counselor in a crowded office with no privacy, but you had a Counselor that cared. Now you have a private office to meet in, and a Counselor who couldn’t care less about you.
A key reason for this change is the sheer number of Diversion clients keeps growing and growing as more and more Judges choose this alternative for non violent, non drug cases. This quickly overloads any and all counselors, since they have no time for anyone but the most difficult cases.