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Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Nationwide, research shows that minority youth are disproportionately involved with the juvenile justice system. To reduce the overrepresentation, ICJI carries out strategies and administers funding to address juvenile delinquency and support improvements to the juvenile justice system. The funding also helps Indiana address the four core requirements of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act – one of those being Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED).

What are racial and ethnic disparities (RED)?

Racial and ethnic disparities exist if a specific minority group’s rate of contact at a particular point in the juvenile justice system is different than the rate of contact for non-Hispanic whites or other minority groups. The different racial and ethnic groups are: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders, Hispanic or Latino (of any race), Mixed or Other, and White. Decision point/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, and waived to adult court.

Juvenile Justice Racial & Ethnic Disparities Plan

To address racial and ethnic disparities and ensure compliance with the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, below is a link to the Juvenile Justice Racial & Ethnic Disparities Plan for fiscal year 2021, as required by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To supplement the plan, this dashboard was created by ICJI and includes data on the number of juvenile arrests on school property, provided by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). Schools submit this data to the IDOE per statute on an annual basis; data is not received from law enforcement. Data comprises of juveniles arrested on school property or resulting from a referral from the school, ages 0 – 17, from school year beginning in 2016 to the end of the school year in 2021.

Download the plan

Dashboard: Juvenile Arrests on School Property Data

Survey Analysis

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

JDAI is a national juvenile justice improvement initiative developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The initiative has been replicated across the country, proving to be successful in minimizing detention over-crowding, reducing the need to build more expensive facilities, improving efficiencies in the juvenile justice system operations, and producing better outcomes for youth and their families. Most importantly, JDAI has achieved successful outcomes while protecting community safety.

ICJI's Efforts

Indiana is one of over 300 jurisdictions in 40 states to implement the eight core strategies of JDAI to enhance and improve their juvenile justice systems. The JDAI process acknowledges the importance of having the family and communities of youth most affected by the juvenile justice system working in partnership with the juvenile justice system staff and community based organizations throughout the system improvement process. This engagement typically includes parents and other family members, community leaders, victims and youth. Additional information on the JDAI model and the Annie E. Casey Foundation can be found here.

Through JDAI, ICJI is currently working with a number of counties to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in their communities. JDAI sites have received (or are currently receiving funds) to support local JDAI coordinator positions and other initiatives related to JDAI. 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 workgroup that will be charged with guiding the work in their respective jurisdiction. There is also a JDAI Statewide RED Workgroup that is tasked with addressing cross-cutting RED issues that arise from the county, as well as ensuring that the state maintains compliance with the JJDP Act.

To learn more about the Indiana Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, click the link below.

Learn more

Racial Equity Impact Assessment Office Hour

The Indiana Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative recently hosted a Race, Equity and Inclusion Workgroup office hour to discuss Racial Equity Impact Assessments (REIA). The session included conversations about what REIA are, when to use them and how they can be used to help center race equity in your youth justice work.

  • Past Reports

    2020 Indiana Juvenile Justice Equity Plan

    Now known as the Juvenile Justice Racial & Ethnic Disparities Plan, this report is Indiana's plan to address racial and ethnic disparities and ensure compliance with the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act for fiscal year 2020, as required by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

    Download the report

    2019 Disproportionate Minority Contact Report

    The Indiana Office of Court Services enacted Judicial Administrative Rule 1G in May 2016. This rule requires all 92 Indiana counties to report DMC data into a statewide repository. ICJI’s research specialist analyzes county-reported data to determine if DMC exists and, if so, at what level. Relative Rate Index (RRI) is used to calculate DMC. RRI produces a value, which is an indicator of whether or not DMC exists. The rate of contact for the minority youth divided by the rate of contact for the majority youth is the RRI value. The RRI value provides information that could indicate potential DMC contributing factors, though not necessarily a disparate treatment of minority youth within a jurisdiction.

    Download the report

  • Statewide Data Collection Project

    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.

  • Resources

Still Have Questions?

Contact ICJI's RED Coordinator Shelby Price at 317-439-6678 or email

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