Disproportionate Minority Contact

Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) refers to the overrepresentation of minority youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. The federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), describes DMC as the condition that exists when minority youth have greater contact with police and the juvenile justice system than their proportions in the general population.

What is the Purpose for the DMC Initiative?
The purpose of the OJJDP DMC initiative is to reduce the overrepresentation of minorities in the juvenile justice system and develop multipronged strategies to ensure equal and fair treatment of all youth. Identifying the extent of overrepresentation, and assessing whether or not minority youth are unnecessarily or inappropriately involved in the juvenile justice system, especially when alternative treatment services and resources have been shown to have better outcomes will be the focus of Ohio’s DMC initiative in 2017.
How is Minority Overrepresentation Identified?
Each January, DYS begins its data collection process by surveying law enforcement agencies and juvenile courts in the 14 Ohio counties with the highest minority populations. The survey requests data from law enforcement on the numbers of youth with whom they had contact, with the data disaggregated by race and ethnicity. The juvenile court survey requests data on youth, by race/ethnicity, who are referred to the juvenile court, and seven additional “decision points” in the juvenile court process, that provide data on how minority youth are impacted when processed through the juvenile justice system. Beginning with referral, the decision points include diversion, detention, delinquent findings, probation, confinement, and transfer to adult court. Data collection typically ends by June of each year.

DYS will amend its current DMC plan to address the findings and recommendations of the DMC Assessment conducted by UC. In 2017, our funding focus will shift from counties with the highest numbers of minority youth to cities or communities with the highest numbers of minority youth. DYS will continue to emphasize the importance of implementing practices known to reduce arrests and will invest additional resources into specific concerns identified in the Assessment. DYS will be collaborating with Ohio’s Supreme Court, the Office of the Ohio Public Defender and law enforcement agencies to better inform state and county policy makers and professionals who have a role in protecting the public and improving juvenile justice practice.
How are DMC Strategies Funded?
Since 2007, DYS has used its OJJDP Title II funding to provide programs and services for minority youth in these 14 counties in an effort to reduce inappropriate arrests. Youth serving agencies have offered mentoring, counseling, skill building, restorative justice, and truancy reduction to youth at highest risk. Additionally, DYS has held numerous seminars and training events for juvenile justice professionals, educators, school resource officers, and law enforcement to inform and educate on issues of DMC and disparity in the system.

Once data is received, it is compiled along with census data and entered into OJJDP’s DMC online data reporting tool. The tool calculates these data to determine a rate of occurrence. This rate is referred to as a relative rate index (RRI). The RRI is not simply a calculation of the percentage of minority youth to white (majority) youth. Rates for minority groups are compared to the rates of white (majority) youth by dividing the rate for each minority group by the rate for white youth. This creates an RRI, which provides a numeric indicator of the extent to which the rate of contact for minority youth differs from the rate of contact for white youth. In addition to calculating the RRI number to determine if DMC exists, the RRI is also used for monitoring progress in addressing DMC or to identify trends.

OJJDP Assessment Requirements and Reporting Disproportionate Minority Contact OJJDP requires all states to collect and report data that measure the results of funded prevention and systems improvement activities and to use these data to inform their administration of grant funds to improve program performance. In 2012, DYS contracted with the University of Cincinnati (UC) to conduct an Assessment in the 14 Ohio counties accounting for approximately 85% of Ohio’s minority youth between the ages of 10 and 17 years old. The purpose of the Assessment was to identify whether or not disparity exists, and if so, identify and examine the causes of disparity from the point of arrest and throughout the juvenile justice system. UC held focus groups, conducted individual interviews within 13 of these 14 counties, and collected and analyzed additional data. The Assessment report was completed in July 2016 and is being used to provide strategic direction for DYS.

OJJDP Publications of Interest This fact sheet provides an overview of OJJDP's efforts to reduce disproportionate minority contact (DMC). The publication includes a description of OJJDP's DMC Reduction Model, which helps states determine whether disproportionality exists and, if it does, guides the establishment of multipronged intervention strategies to ensure equal treatment of all youth. The fact sheet also includes a summary of states' DMC-reduction activities derived from compliance plans submitted in fiscal year 2011.

Describes strategies that States and communities can use to reduce disproportionate minority contact with the juvenile justice system. This bulletin is a companion to the latest edition of OJJDP's Disproportionate Minority Contact Technical Assistance Manual. It includes useful "how to" information drawn from the manual and presents important background on the context in which local preparation takes place-media coverage and public attitudes about crime, race, and youth.

Describes developments in addressing disproportionate minority confinement (DMC) at the national, state, and local levels. This OJJDP Summary begins with a brief review of the most recent data, followed by an outline of national efforts by OJJDP and others during the past 5 years to address the challenge of DMC. It then presents an update of state activities, including a status report on state compliance with the DMC core requirement, highlights form state DMC assessment research and intervention initiatives, and an outline of remaining challenges. The Summary concludes with a look at the implications of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act's broadening of DMC to encompass disproportionate minority contact.

The purpose of this 2002 OJJDP Bulletin is to extend earlier analysis by examining research found in professional academic journals and edited books during the 12-year period. Conference papers or presentations are excluded from the current review, as are unpublished State studies or plans, except when portions of these may have formed the basis for a journal publication.

For more information, please contact:
Kristi S. Oden, Grants Administrator