Disproportionate Minority Contact
Group: Mississippi Statistical Analysis Center, University of Southern Mississippi
Revisions to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act in 2002 included provisions that increased the scope of investigation regarding disproportionate minority representation in the juvenile justice system as well as strengthened statistical methods for detecting disparities among individual racial and ethnic categories. Currently, DMC estimates are focused on youths age 10-17 and limited to those offenders who committed delinquent acts rather than status offenses. Revisions to the JJDP Act also mandated investigation regarding instances of contact rather than confinement – focusing on key individual points within the juvenile justice system. As a result, rates of contact can be compared at each stage of the juvenile justice process, from arrest to adjudication. Comparisons are made using the relative rate index (RRI), which compares proportionate instances of occurrences between Caucasian and minority juveniles, based on the size of their respective at-risk populations. Hence, instances of disproportionate minority contact (the “new” DMC) can be assessed at each individual stage of the juvenile justice process.
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