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Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) refers to overrepresentation (and at times underrepresentation) of minority youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system at a rate that is not proportionate to their representation in their general population.
The different racial and ethnic groups are:
Contact refers to the different decision points along the juvenile justice system continuum.
Section 223(a)(23) of the JJDP Act provides that the State shall:
"Address efforts to reduce the proportion of juveniles detained or confined in secure detention facilities, secure correctional facilities, jails and lockups who are members of minority groups if the proportion exceeds the proportion of such groups in the general population."
In order to participate in the federal Formula Grant Programs, which provides financial support for delinquency prevention and intervention efforts, states are required to achieve and maintain compliance with the four core requirements of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 2002.
The four core requirements are:
In response to overwhelming evidence that minority youth were being disproportionately confined in secure facilities across the nation, the JJDP Act of 1974 was amended in 1988, requiring states to address this issue. Specifically, if the proportionate of minority groups detained or confined in secure detention facilities, secure correctional facilities, jails, and lockups exceed the proportion such group represents in the general population, the state is required to develop and implement a plan to reduce the disproportionality (Section 223(a) (22).
With growing evidence suggesting that the disproportionate representation of minority youth was not only occurring at the confinement decision point, but also at other contact points along the juvenile justice system continuum, the JJDP Act was amended in 2002. The JJDP Act of 2002 now requires states to address disproportionality at all decision points as opposed to just secure confinement. Specifically, the changes required states “to address juvenile delinquency prevention efforts and system improvement efforts designed to reduce, without establishing or requiring numerical standards or quotas, the disproportionate number of minority group youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system.” States that fail to meet this requirement risk losing 20 percent of their formula grant funding.
Regardless of the changes that were made to the JJDP Act, the purpose remains the same, and that is to ensure that all youth who come into the contact with the juvenile justice system receive fair and equitable treatment regardless of race and ethnicity. For additional information about the JJDP Act, please visit this link.
To help comply with the DMC core requirement, states are required to adopt and implement the DMC Reduction Model developed by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the federal entity charged with overseeing the Formula Grant Program. The model has five continuous steps that are designed to:
As the administering agency for the state of Indiana, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) routinely receives and allocates federal Formula Grant funding. ICJI is also tasked with ensuring that Indiana achieves and maintains compliance with the four core requirements. For additional information about the first three core requirements and how they are being addressed in Indiana, visit Youth Law T.E.A.M.
Statewide DMC Data Collection Project
Indiana is in compliance with the DMC core requirement. In early 2012, the state, with the assistance of the Indiana University Center for Criminal Justice Research, completed a statewide DMC data collection project during which data was collection for all of Indiana’s 92, for 8 of the 9 decision points, for 2005 through 2009. The project was designed to help determine if DMC exists across of the state and if so, to what extent. The completion of the project also aligns with Indiana’s efforts to improve its juvenile justice system, including the reduction of racial and ethnic disparities. The report will enable us to further explore the mechanisms that are contributing to racial disparities and DMC in Indiana’s juvenile justice system. It will help counties understand how they can assist in maintaining compliance with the JJDP Act, and most importantly, help to improve outcomes for youth and their families who come in contact with the juvenile justice system. Click here to view a copy of the full report.
Partnering with Community Solutions and the Center for Criminal Justice Research, the state is in the process of completing a DMC assessment in LaPorte, Allen, and Vanderburgh Counties. Using a qualitative and quantitative approach, researchers will work with each county to identify the mechanisms and factors that are contributing to DMC in the counties mentioned above. Click here to view a copy of the full report.
Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative
Indiana was recently designated a statewide Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) site by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. JDAI, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a detention reform and juvenile justice system improvement initiative that has demonstrated over 20 years, in urban and rural jurisdictions, that moving low-risk youth from secure detention into community-based alternative programs is excellent public policy. Guided by eight core principles, JDAI has established outstanding public safety outcomes, reduce racial and ethnic disparities, minimized detention over-crowding and the need to build more expensive facilities creating savings for taxpayers, improved efficiencies in the juvenile justice system operations, and produced better outcomes for youth and their families.
Through JDAI, ICJI is currently working with a number of counties to reduce racial and ethnic disparities and DMC in their communities. JDAI sites have received or are currently receiving funds to support local JDAI/DMC Coordinator positions and other initiatives related to JDAI and DMC. A number of counties are also working with the W. Haywood Burns Institute, an organization that provides jurisdictions with guidance and technical assistance as they work to reduce racial equity in their juvenile justice systems. Each JDAI sites has established or are in the process of establishing a Racial and Ethnic/DMC subcommittee that will be charged with guiding the work in their respective jurisdiction. There is also a statewide RED/DMC subcommittee that is tasked with addressing cross-cutting DMC issues that arise from the county, as well as ensuring that the state maintains compliance with the JJDP Act. For additional information about Indiana’s JDAI journey, please visit http://www.youthlawteam.org/compliance.html.
For additional information, contact the DMC coordinator