"Despite positive trends regarding juvenile interactions with the justice system, racial disparities remain as a persistent problem. African-American youth comprise 17 percent of the population, but comprise 31 percent of all arrested youth. This briefing paper explains how disproportionate minority contact (DMC) with the juvenile justice system is measured and takes a close look at drug offenses, property crimes, and status offenses. Racial disparities weaken the credibility of a justice system that purports to treat everyone equally." Sections cover: what "contact" is; the extent of the problem; measuring DMC using the Relative Rate Index (RRI); encounters with the justice system—disproportionate arrest rates for status offenders, property crime arrests, and drug offenses; how policy choices worsen disparities—school discipline as a law enforcement issue, valid court order (VCO), and geography and population density; disproportionate minority confinement—RRI for pre- and post-adjudication detention and placement; and eliminating disproportionate minority contact by reauthorizing and strengthening the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA).
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Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Juvenile Justice System
Accession Number: 028411