DMC Action Network
Published Aug 16, 2012, Taking DMC Reduction Strategies Statewide in North Carolina
During the past six months, juvenile justice in North Carolina has undergone some significant changes. For one, the state’s juvenile justice agency, formerly known as the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, was relocated to the Department of Public Safety as the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Additionally, a bipartisan committee in the state legislature endorsed a proposal to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 16 to 18 for certain offenses – a first in the state’s ongoing dialogue on the issue.
One thing has not changed, though: a commitment to spreading innovations from the Models for Change initiative throughout the state. North Carolina’s involvement in Models for Change began in 2007, when Union County joined the DMC Action Network. Union County officials embraced a range of strategies to reduce racial and ethnic disparities, such as improved data collection, the implementation of a detention assessment instrument, and the development of a system of graduated responses to youth compliance and noncompliance with probation. These reforms contributed to a 67% decline in the number of youth admitted to detention for violations of probation in Union County over a nine month period, with a 50% drop in admissions of youth of color for that reason.
State officials took notice, and with the support of the MacArthur Foundation, they have been able to spread successful strategies throughout the state. According to DJJ’s Assistant Director for Court Services, Michael Rieder, “We were so appreciative of the opportunities that the Models for Change initiative gave us, in part because one of the only things we were hearing during the past few years was ‘cut, cut, cut.’”