DMC Data Sources
The Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Relative Rate Index Matrix promoted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is an ideal that some (or possibly many) data analysts are not able to implement due to the limitations of available data. The ideal data enables RRI developers to assess juvenile justice system processing using ten measures that capture flow at nine points in the system. These ten measures are (1) juvenile resident population, (2) juvenile arrests, (3) referrals to juvenile court, (4) diversions from juvenile court, (5) pre-disposition detentions, (6) petitions, (7) adjudications, (8) adjudications that result in probation, (9) adjudications that result in secure placement, and (10) transfer/waiver to criminal court. In addition, for the ideal RRI Matrix, each of these ten measures should be subdivided into six race/ethnicity groups: (1) White, (2) Black, (3) Hispanic, (4) American Indian and Alaska Native, (5) Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders, and (6) Asian. [The ideal actually includes a seventh race/ethnicity group labeled 'Mixed' that covers a wide range of possible subgroups.]
For an RRI developer, a common question is what to do when the available data are less than ideal. In developing the national RRI Matrices, we were faced with the same problems. We had data for all of the ten measures, although for some they were not the ideal measures. For example, our measure of 'transfer/waiver to criminal court' was the national estimate of judicial waivers. This measure excludes a prosecutor's decision to directly file a juvenile matter in criminal court or transfers that followed local legislation and placed a juvenile's behavior directly into criminal court. Some do not consider these two methods of handling a juvenile in criminal court as a true 'transfer' because the cases were never actually in the juvenile justice system. As data analysts, this was a moot point since data capturing these two methods are not available at the national level. We also had to make data compromises because the arrest and court processing data were not available that distinguished Hispanics or that separated Asian/Pacific Islanders into its subgroups. Given these data limitations, we built a set of RRI Matrices that took maximum advantage of available data.
The ten measures used in the national RRI matrices are:
All of the following measures of juvenile court activity were derived from the work of the National Juvenile Court Data Archive (Archive) that is maintained by the National Center for Juvenile Justice. Archive data are the basis for the annual Juvenile Court Statistics series that monitors the workloads of the nation's juvenile courts. The Juvenile Court Statistics series uses 'case disposed' as the unit of count to describe court workloads. A case represents a youth referred to juvenile court for a new referral for one or more offenses. The term disposed means that during the year some definite action was taken or some treatment plan was decided on or initiated. Under this definition, a youth could be involved in more than one case during a calendar year. The Juvenile Court Statistics series develops national estimates of cases handled by U.S. juvenile courts. The following race/ethnicity groups are available from this collection: White, Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic. National estimates of delinquency cases processed by juvenile courts in the U.S. are available from Easy Access to Juvenile Court Statistics (https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezajcs/)
Developed and maintained by the National Center for Juvenile Justice, with funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.