Disproportionate Minority Contact

What is Disproportionate Minority Contact?

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:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native (Non-Hispanic)
  • Asian (Non-Hispanic)
  • Black or African American (Non-Hispanic)
  • Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders (Non-Hispanic)
  • Hispanic or Latino (of any race)
  • Mixed or Other (Non-Hispanic)
  • White (Non-Hispanic)

Contact refers to the different decision points along the juvenile justice system continuum.

  • Arrests
  • Delinquent Findings
  • Diversion
  • Petition Filed
  • Probation
  • Referrals
  • Secure Confinement
  • Secure Detention
  • Waived to Adult Court

The DMC Reduction Model

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: DMC Model

  • Identification:
    Determine if DMC exists, and if so, to what extent.
  • Assessment:
    Using a quantitative and qualitative approach, assess the mechanisms that are contributing to DMC.
  • Intervention:
    Develop and implement intervention strategies to address the reasons identified in the previous stage.
  • Evaluation:
    Conduct an evaluation of effectiveness of the intervention strategies that were implemented.
  • Monitoring:
    Track changes in DMC trends and adjust intervention strategies as needed.

Indiana’s DMC Reduction Efforts

As Indiana's administering agency, 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. There has been increasing attention regarding the important issue of Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) among Indiana youth. Indiana has taken a multi-pronged approach to understand and quantify the extent of DMC.

In 2012, Phase 1 of a multi-step approach was initiated.  This phase included a needs assessment to understand local issues that drive DMC as well as exploring local solutions to DMC. Focus groups and quantitative interviews with juvenile justice involved youth in three communities across the state of Indiana resulted in increased understanding of DMC among diverse communities and specific suggestions of how to mitigate DMC. 

In order to best address DMC, it is vitally important to accurately quantify the extent of DMC across Indiana. As a result, Phase 2 focused on quantifying the data quality among a subsample of Indiana counties utilizing juvenile justice information systems across the state. The result of Phase 2 was a clearer picture of data quality as well as initiating steps to maintain and improve data quality measures. 

Phase 3 includes an evaluation and data quality improvement project of all counties utilizing juvenile justice information systems in Indiana. This takes Indiana one step closer to providing consistent, universal DMC data for all Hoosier youth.

For additional information about Indiana's DMC initiatives, contact ICJI's DMC coordinator.

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, reduced 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 site has established or is 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.