Pennsylvania's Process as an Example of a Systematic DMC Approach

Description of the Pennsylvania Model

Pennsylvania's DMC efforts began in 1986, 2 years prior to the inclusion of DMC as a Formula Grants Program plan requirement. During that year, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and the State advisory group, the Juvenile Advisory Committee (JAC), recognized the problem of minority overrepresentation. In 1990, JAC established the Minority Confinement Subcommittee to focus on the DMC issue.9 The subcommittee's analysis of 1988 juvenile justice data for detention and other secure holding programs revealed that, although representing just 12 percent of the juvenile population, minority juveniles accounted for 70 percent of secure placements statewide. To help determine which decision points in the juvenile justice system and which jurisdiction(s) the State's DMC efforts should target, further analysis was conducted using 1989 data both statewide and in the 18 counties with the highest minority populations. Statewide Pennsylvania data indicated that minority juveniles represented 27 percent of all juveniles arrested and 48 percent of all juveniles formally charged in juvenile court. All of the State's counties showed minority overrepresentation, which was amplified as cases moved through the system. In response to these preliminary analyses, the subcommittee funded outside research to identify causes and develop options to address the problem while simultaneously implementing prevention and intervention programs. This two-pronged approach has guided the subsequent State DMC strategy.

  1. The Minority Confinement Subcommittee reports to JAC, which reports to PCCD. JAC submits an annual report to the Governor on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention issues and activities.

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