U.S. Department of Justice, Office Of Justice Programs, Innovation - Partnerships - Safer Neighborhoods
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Working for Youth Justice and Safety
About DMC



About DMC

A Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Chronology: 1988 to Date

Updated by Andrea R. Coleman, OJJDP DMC Coordinator


DMC was brought to national attention by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (formerly the National Coalition of State Juvenile Justice Advisory Groups) in its 1988 annual report to Congress, A Delicate Balance.


In the 1988 Amendments to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974, Congress required that states address DMC in their state plans. Specifically, under the Formula Grants Program, each state must address efforts to reduce the proportion of youth detained or confined in secure detention facilities, secure correctional facilities, jails, and lockups who are members of minority groups if it exceeds the proportion of such groups in the general population. For purposes of this requirement, OJJDP has defined minority populations as African Americans, American Indians, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics.


OJJDP developed a technical assistance strategy to help states fulfill the requirement to address DMC. The strategy included the following elements: 1) prepare instructions for the states; 2) conduct a national scope training workshop on the requirement for State Juvenile Justice Specialists and State Advisory Group members; 3) develop a Work Group to advise OJJDP and serve as training and technical assistance (TA) consultants; 4) prepare a TA manual; 5) provide training and TA to states upon request; 6) conduct training workshops at regional and national meetings; and 7) develop and distribute information concerning innovative approaches to address DMC.


OJJDP issued instructions for the states on the statutory and regulatory requirements of the DMC core requirement.

1989 to date

OJJDP's Formula Grants Program training and technical assistance (T&TA) contractor provides such services upon request on all aspects of this core requirement. The current contractor is National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC).


OJJDP conducted a 4-day national training conference, "Implementing the Disproportionate Minority Confinement and Native American Pass-Through Amendments: A Workshop for State Planning Agencies and State Advisory Groups."


OJJDP issued the DMC Technical Assistance Manual to guide State Juvenile Justice Specialists and State Advisory Groups to address DMC in three phases--identification, assessment, and intervention. Identification and assessment matrixes and the calculation of index values were provided as a measure of proportionality.

1991 to 1994

The DMC Initiative: Through five competitively selected states (Arizona, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, and Oregon), OJJDP established this initiative to test various approaches to assessing DMC and experiment with approaches to reducing DMC. Portland State University and Caliber Associates served as OJJDP's T&TA contract providers for this initiative.


In the 1992 Amendments to the JJDP Act, DMC was elevated to a core requirement, with future funding eligibility (25 percent of the states' JJDP Formula Grants allocations) tied to state compliance. Each year, OJJDP reviews states' 3- year comprehensive JJDP plans and plan updates to determine states' compliance with the DMC core requirement.


A report, The Status of the States: A Review of State Materials Regarding Overrepresentation of Minority Youth in the Juvenile Justice System, was compiled, based on material submitted by the states to OJJDP through January 1993 (Feyerherm).


Publication of an OJJDP Report, Minorities and the Juvenile Justice System: Research Summary (Pope and Feyerherm, NCJ 145849): This report concentrates on the official processing of minority youth. It conducted a search of research literature on the processing of minority youth in the juvenile justice system from 1969 to early 1989 and selected 46 of the most relevant articles to review and analyze. The report further identified existing programs and policies that may have dealt with differential processing of minority youth and examined methodological problems with previous work in this area.


Publication of OJJDP Fact Sheet, Disproportionate Minority Confinement (Roscoe and Morton, FS-9411).

1995 to 1996

National Innovations to Reduce DMC: The goals of this discretionary grants program are to refine previous assessment findings and improved data systems, develop new interventions to reduce DMC, develop model DMC programs, and encourage multidisciplinary collaborations at the community level to reduce DMC. Eleven DMC discretionary grants were awarded (one program was given a 2-year grant), including research, T&TA, and demonstrations to test innovative interventions designed by states and local communities.

1996 to 2006 Through a cooperative agreement with OJJDP, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice held the first National DMC Planning and Strategy meeting, and has since made the DMC Conference an annual event with OJJDP financial support.


Publication of Disproportionate Confinement of Minority Juveniles in Secure Confinement: 1996NationalReport (Hamparian and Leiber, through OJJDP's former Formula Grants T&TA contractor, Community Research Associates): This report is based on a review and analysis of states' 1994-96 JJDP Act Formula Grants Comprehensive State Plans and the DMC Assessment Reports submitted by states to OJJDP in the early 1990's. It provides a national status summary, through 1995, of the nature and extent of DMC, the activities chosen to address it, and challenges experienced by the states. With lessons learned collectively, this report recommends future actions for states to consider in their continuing efforts to address DMC.

1997 to 2004

National DMC Training, Technical Assistance, and Information Dissemination Initiative: OJJDP launched this national initiative to foster development and documentation of effective strategies nationwide, using training, technical assistance, information dissemination, and public education. Since October 2000, this initiative has been implemented through an OJJDP cooperative agreement with Research and Evaluation Associates. REA has been coordinating and monitoring the Intensive Technical Assistance Project, has established and maintained DMC ListServs to facilitate information and skills-sharing across states, and has identified and trained about 50 potential consultants to aid in the delivery of technical assistance on DMC-related issues. Recent activities include 1) conducting a DMC training of trainers, 2) reviewing data collection instruments and identifying strengths and weakness, and 3) compiling a state-by-state status report on state DMC activities.


Publication of an OJJDP Bulletin, DMC: Lessons Learned From Five States (Devine, Coolbaugh, and Jenkins, NCJ 173420): This Bulletin explains OJJDP's DMC initiative and describes how five pilot states (Arizona, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, and Oregon) assessed the extent to which minority juveniles were disproportionately confined by their juvenile justice systems. It further shows how the five states designed DMC strategies and implemented interventions to address identified problems.


Publication of an OJJDP Bulletin, DMC: 1997 Update (Hsia and Hamparian, NCJ 170606): This Bulletin summarizes the strategies OJJDP promotes to combat DMC in juvenile facilities and minority overrepresentation at all points of the juvenile justice system. It examines, through a case study, Pennsylvania's multiyear, systematic, and data-driven effort to reduce DMC.

1998 to 2002

The Building Blocks for Youth Initiative: OJJDP joined many other public and private organizations to support this initiative led by the Youth Law Center. The goals of the initiative are to protect minority youth in the juvenile justice system and promote rational and effective justice system policies. The five-prong approach consists of 1) conducting new research; 2) analyzing decision making in the juvenile justice system; 3) directing advocacy for minority youth in the justice system (OJJDP funds do not support this activity); 4) building a constituency for change at the local, state, and national levels; and 5) developing communications, media, and public education strategies. All of these components build on one another.


Publication of OJJDP Bulletin, Minorities in the Juvenile Justice System (NCJ 179007): This National Report Series Bulletin presents information on overrepresentation of minority youth in the juvenile justice system and includes statistics on racial/ethnic makeup of juvenile offenders from arrest, court-processing, and confinement records.

1999 to 2002

The DMC Intensive Technical Assistance Project began with five states (Delaware, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and South Carolina). This project has been managed by REA.


Publication and dissemination of DMC Technical Assistance Manual, second edition: This version contains all lessons learned in the field of DMC in the preceding 10 years, and stresses the importance of ongoing DMC efforts to include ongoing evaluation of DMC strategies and monitoring of DMC trends.


Establishment of a catalog of state DMC reports: Significant state DMC reports available at OJJDP were compiled by OJJDP and its contractors, offering a central repository for historical records of DMC efforts and achievements in each state. This library of reports is useful for consultants, OJJDP State Representatives, and state and local personnel who need to know the history of DMC efforts in a particular state. This catalog is continually updated.


OJJDP created a DMC Web site. This Web site contains critical information about this core requirement, useful tools, and relevant publications. It also lists state DMC contacts. It is linked to all four OJJDP contractors who provide DMC-related services. This Web site is updated on an ongoing basis.

2000 to 2001

OJJDP expanded DMC training for state personnel from 1- and 2-hour sessions to 1-day sessions at regional and national training, and also provided 1-day training at the OJJDP National Conference and the CJJ's National Pre-conferences.

2000 to date

OJJDP emphasizes the importance of states' focused efforts to reduce DMC. OJJDP encourages states to designate State DMC Coordinators to promote focused DMC efforts. The number of states that have designated State DMC Coordinators increased from 10 in 1999 to 35 in 2008.

2000 to date

OJJDP's DMC Coordinator assisted OJJDP's State Representatives to develop individualized DMC compliance determination letters to states. The goals of such letters are to provide specific recognition of states' accomplishment, provide guidance for plans for the coming years, and facilitate tracking of states' progress.


OJJDP provided a 1-day, in-depth, DMC training to its State Representatives to enable appropriate monitoring and the use of uniform methodology in determining DMC compliance. The training covered DMC issues and how to make use of the updated DMC Compliance Determination Checklist.


OJJDP's DMC Intensive Technical Assistance Project was expanded to include three additional states (Arkansas, California, and Tennessee).

2001 to 2005

The Juvenile Justice Evaluation Center (JJEC): The goal of this project is to assist OJJDP in building evaluation capacity in the states, especially as those efforts relate to projects funded by the Formula Grants Program. JJEC has worked on facilitating collaboration between JJDP state agencies and Statistical Analysis Centers and plans to develop an evaluation guidebook on DMC issues.


Publication of OJJDP Bulletin, Disproportionate Minority Confinement: A Review of Research Literature From 1989 Through 2001 (Pope, Lovell, and Hsia).


Orientation to DMC Research: To expand the DMC researcher consultant pool for the use of states and localities, OJJDP invited 45 social sciences researchers (mostly college professors) to this 2-day orientation. A list consisting of 22 interested and qualified consultants has resulted from this effort.


OJJDP sponsors a researchers' focus group to help the office develop a DMC research agenda.


Disproportionate Minority Contact. The JJDP Act of 1974, as amended, signed into law on November 2, 2002, modified the DMC requirement of the Act as follow: "addressing 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 initiative from disproportionate minority "confinement" to disproportionate minority "contact" by requiring an examination of possible disproportionate representation of minority youth at all decision points along the juvenile justice system continuum. It further requires multi-pronged intervention strategies including not only juvenile delinquency prevention efforts but also system improvement efforts to assure equal treatment of all youth.


DMC Peer Review Meeting. Since 1988 the Disproportionate Representation Index (DRI) has been used to calculate the proportion such groups represent in the general juvenile population. As limitations experienced with the use of DRI had become increasingly troubling, OJJDP convened seven skilled research consultants to consider a range of feasible methods to calculate disproportionality and to recommend an improved method to be recommended to OJJDP. The group recommended the DMC Relative Rate Index (RRI) to replace the DRI.


Regional training of state staff and OJJDP in service training was conducted on why and how the DMC Relative Rate Index (RRI) would replace the DRI and defined "minority" and "contact" to facilitate the implementation of the DMC core requirement in the JJDP Act of 2002.


As part of their FY 2004 Formula Grant applications, states submitted DMC Relative Rates Indexes with the most recently available data on various juvenile justice system contact points for the state and three counties with the largest minority concentration/localities with targeted DMC-reduction efforts. Dr. William Feyerherm provided e-mail consultation during this process.


OJJDP published Disproportionate Minority Confinement: 2002 Update (Hsia and Bridges). This OJJDP Summary begins with a brief review of the most recent data, followed by an outline of OJJDP and others' national efforts to address the challenge of DMC during the past 5 years. It then presents an update of state activities, including a status report on state compliance with the DMC core requirement, highlights from state DMC assessment research and intervention initiatives, and an outline of remaining challenges. It also provides a case study of Washington State's 10-year multi-prong efforts to reduce DMC. The Summary concludes with a look at the implications of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act's broadening of DMC to encompass disproportionate minority contact.


OJJDP awarded a 2-year grant to the Youth Law Center to develop new and accurate data collection methods for Hispanic youth at two sites and, based on the data, to implement activities to reduce over-representation affecting minority youth at critical points in the juvenile justice system in these two sites.


OJJDP provided two regional training sessions of state staff entitled, "Diagnosis Determines Treatment: Interpreting and Using the DMC Index Numbers" and individual consultations upon request to discuss state-specific data. A total of 30 states utilized this opportunity at the conference sites.

2005 Funded by OJJDP, the Juvenile Justice Evaluation Center published Seven Steps to Develop and Evaluate Strategies to Reduce Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC).
2006 OJJDP conducted one-day preconference, Reducing Disproportionate Minority Contact, at its National Conference.
2006 OJJDP launched its Web-based DMC Data Entry System that provides a central repository of state and local data across the country, and facilitates within state or within locality comparisons of DMC changes over time.
2006 OJJDP posted online its DMC Technical Assistance Manual, third edition that provides detailed guidance on DMC identification and monitoring, assessment, intervention, and evaluation. It brings states and localities the latest information and tools for understanding and effectively addressing minority overrepresentation in the juvenile justice system.
2006 Through its Field-Initiated Research and Evaluation (FIRE) solicitation, OJJDP awarded an 18-month grant to the Justice Research and Statistics Association to conduct an evaluation of the efficacy of DMC reduction efforts of selected sites. This project will examine steps taken by these sites in reducing DMC and assess and document the outcomes they have achieved.
2007 On January 22 and 23, in San Diego, CA, OJJDP conducted its first DMC Training of Trainers for 13 experienced, state-designated DMC coordinators in San Diego, California. TOTís purpose is to enable participants to communicate clearly what DMC is, how to measure it, and how to design data-based DMC reduction strategies; and to enhance participantsí group facilitation skills to help community groups work collaboratively, systematically, and continuously toward DMC reduction. On January 24, 11 current and potential DMC consultants received similar training.
2007 In October, at the annual DMC conference, OJJDP unveiled its DMC Reduction Best Practices Database.
2008 In January OJJDP conducted training for new and experienced DMC coordinators in New Orleans, Louisiana and Phoenix, Arizona respectively.

OJJDP updated the Summary of States' DMC-Reduction Activities Table.

DMC workshops were a component of OJJDP's State Relations and Assistance Division's Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
2009 OJJDP conducted two trainings for new DMC coordinators in Washington, DC and a web-based training on the Relative Rate index (RRI); the purpose of the training was to assist states with data collection, analyses, and interpretation of rates of disproportionality.

OJJDP sponsored a webinar on interpreting and analyzing Relative Rate Index (RRI) values conducted by Dr. William Feyerherm, Portland State University.

OJJDP conducted two trainings for new DMC coordinators from eleven states in Washington, District of Columbia and a web-based training on the Relative Rate Index (RRI); the purpose of the training was to assist states with data collection, analyses, and interpretation of rates of disproportionality.

OJJDP published the fourth edition of the DMC Technical Assistance Manual, which provides detailed guidance on DMC identification and monitoring, assessment, intervention, and evaluation, and two additional chapters on promising systems improvement strategies for Hispanic and Latino youth and the role of State DMC Coordinators.

OJJDP launched the Native American/Alaska Native Interagency Initiative with the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Justice Statistics and Research Association to determine the extent of disproportionality with Native American/Alaska Native Youth. The group was a result of states' requests to study and examine the needs of Native American and Alaska Native youth.

OJJDP launched the Relative Rate Index (RRI) Modification Project with the Bureau of Justice Statistics and Dr. William Feyerherm, Portland State University, to examine how jurisdictions, particularly the U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia, can determine the extent of disproportionality when the "minority is the majority."

OJJDP published Reducing Disproportionate Minority Contact: Preparation at the Local Level written by Mark Soler, Executive Director, and Lisa Garry, DMC Policy Director, at the Center for Children's Law and Policy.

OJJDP completed the annual review of DMC Compliance Plans for all 50 states, four U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia.

OJJDP conducted presentations and trainings in the following states: Georgia, Illinois, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, and West Virginia.

OJJDP facilitated the DMC Listening Session in Washington, District of Columbia. The session included an overview of current trends in the effort to address the disproportionate representation of minorities at all decision points within the juvenile justice continuum and implementation of empirically driven and best practices for delinquency prevention and system improvement efforts to reduce DMC. Participants were asked to discuss the impact of addressing contact at all juvenile justice system points verses secure confinement; how states and territories are measuring disproportionality via the Relative Rate Index (RRI); the utilization of objective risk assessment instruments at the various contact points; and specific examples of states and communities that have reduced or mitigated disproportionality based on process, outcome, and/or impact evaluations.

OJJDP sponsored its DMC Conference in Austin, Texas focusing on effective and promising systems improvement strategies to reduce disproportionality throughout the juvenile justice system.

OJJDP funded the DMC Analysis and Patterns Project under its Field Initiated Research and Evaluation (FIRE) solicitation. The purpose of the Project to conduct a national analysis of Relative Rate Index (RRI) data to identify jurisdictions that have shown a consistent movement toward reduction in the RRI values over 3 consecutive years, to obtain detailed information on the approaches used by these jurisdictions, and to produce detailed case studies that can be replicated by other jurisdictions.

OJJDP began collaborating with the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to identify local jurisdictions to determine if high rates of DMC contribute to violations under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA).
2010 OJJDP sponsored a webinar on DMC assessments and how they should guide decision making conducted by Dr. Michael Leiber, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Dorinda Richetelli, Spectrum Associates.

OJJDP's Native American/Alaska Native Interagency Initiative revised the Title II Formula Grant pass-through formula for states with significant populations. A bulletin on the extent of disproportionality will be published by fall 2010.

OJJDP completed the annual review of DMC Compliance Plans for all 50 states, four U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia.

OJJDP conducted presentations and trainings in the following states: Massachusetts, Iowa, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and South Carolina.

OJJDP issued a proposal for the Community and Strategic Planning (CASP) Initiative. The purpose of the CASP is to provide effective strategies to facilitate state and local DMC initiatives to reduce and/or mitigate disproportionality throughout the juvenile justice system. These strategies include: hiring and/or designating staff as DMC Coordinators; facilitating the DMC Reduction Model; tracking expenditures of the DMC portion of the Title II Formula Grant and/or other funds; providing training to local jurisdictions and stakeholder agencies; and assisting with conducting a process evaluation. Targeted DMC reduction sites will engage in community capacity building activities that include: implementing a community collaborative; conducting a local assessment; and assisting the State DMC Coordinator with monitoring delinquency prevention and systems improvement activities.

OJJDP hosted a one-day training for DMC Coordinators and State Advisory Group (SAG) members October 22, 2010 as a pre-conference to the Coalition for Juvenile Justice's National DMC Conference October 23-25, 2010 in Jersey City, New Jersey. OJJDP will continue its focus on effective and promising systems improvement strategies to reduce and/or mitigate DMC. OJJDP sponsored a webinar on entitled the 5 Steps to Interpreting and Analyzing Relative Rate Index (RRI) Values conducted by Andrea R. Coleman, OJJDP DMC Coordinator, and Dr. William Feyerherm, Portland State University.

OJJDP continue to collaborate with the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to identify local jurisdictions to determine if high rates of DMC contribute to violations under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA).
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