In 1988, in response to overwhelming evidence that minority youth were disproportionately confined in the nation’s secure facilities, Congress amended the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-415, 42 U.S.C. 5601 et seq.). This amendment mandated that the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) require all states participating in the Formula Grants Program (Title II, Part B, of the Act) to address disproportionate minority confinement (DMC) in their state plans. Specifically, the amendment required the state, if the proportion of a given group of minority youth detained or confined in its secure detention facilities, secure correctional facilities, jails, and lockups exceeded the proportion that group represented in the general population, to develop and implement plans to reduce the disproportionate representation (Section 223(a)(23)).
In its 1992 amendments to the JJDP Act, Congress elevated DMC to a core requirement, tying 25 percent of each state’s Formula Grants allocation for that year to compliance. Ten years later, Congress modified the DMC requirement of the JJDP Act of 2002 to require all states that participate in the Formula Grants Program to address “juvenile delinquency prevention efforts and system improvement efforts designed to reduce, without establishing or requiring numerical standards or quotas, the disproportionate number of juvenile members of minority groups who come into contact with the juvenile justice system.” This change broadens the DMC core requirement from disproportionate minority “confinement” to disproportionate minority “contact,” and it further requires the states to institute multi-component intervention strategies including not only juvenile delinquency prevention efforts but also system improvements to assure equal treatment of all youth.
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