From the Administrator

A prerequisite of an effective juvenile justice system is to treat every offender as an individual and provide needed services to all. There are troubling indications that the system is not meeting this standard. As one reflection of this problem, we find that the percentage of minority youth in secure confinement is more than double their representation in the general juvenile population -- comprising nearly 7 out of 10 juveniles in such environments.

As part of its overall mission, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention provides leadership and resources to our Nation's efforts to address disproportionate minority confinement (DMC). This Bulletin offers an overview of the status of the DMC initiative and describes one State's efforts to meet the needs of minority youth served by its juvenile justice system. Pennsylvania's multiyear, systematic approach demonstrates how important it is to have sound data as a basis for raising public awareness, mobilizing support and resources, and planning and implementing an effective DMC strategy.

All youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system must receive an appropriate response, including the treatment they need. We have not yet reached that goal, but this Bulletin tells us that the DMC initiative is bringing about change and focusing attention on a problem that must be addressed.

Shay Bilchik

Disproportionate Minority Confinement: 1997 Update Juvenile Justice Bulletin   ·  September 1998