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Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Action Network

Reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system

Youth of color are overrepresented at nearly every point of contact with the juvenile justice system—and this "disproportionate minority contact"  is disturbingly persistent over time. Youth of color are more likely to be incarcerated and to serve more time than white youth, even when they are charged with the same category of offense.

While all states involved in the Models for Change initiative worked to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, the DMC Action Network was launched in 2007 to bring together teams from select local jurisdictions, expose them to the latest thinking of national experts, and give them an opportunity to learn from one another about effective ways to reduce the disproportionate contact of minority and ethnic youth with the juvenile justice system.

In addition to the Models for Change four core states, the DMC Action Network also included: Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin.

Each site implemented at least two “strategic innovations," including

  1. improvements in the tracking and reporting of data,
  2. enhanced cultural competency and community responsiveness of staff responsiveness,
  3. diverting pre-adjudicated youth and
  4. expanding post-disposition culturally relevant alternatives to incarceration.

Publications and tools:

  • The Burns Institute's blog features frequent updates on news of DMC issues.
  • The Burns Institute also features a map that shows an interactive map providing state-by-state and county data regarding juvenile justice system involvement, using data from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
  • DMC eNews reports on the action network's efforts to reduce disproportionate minority contact in juvenile justice systems. Sign up here to receive DMC eNews by email or download recent issues from our work highlights page, which also features recent progress updates and reports on the network's annual meetings.
  • Read Models for Change publications on Racial-ethnic fairness/DMC.

For more information

The DMC Action Network was coordinated by the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, a National Resource Bank member that provides technical assistance to DMC efforts in all four Models for Change states. To learn more about the network view the FAQ or contact

Supported by

Models for Change is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.