Skip to main content

This site was archived January 1, 2018 and is no longer updated.

Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Action Network

Reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system

Youth of color have long been overrepresented at nearly every point of contact with the juvenile justice system. This disproportionate minority contact (DMC) means that 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.

All states involved in the Models for Change initiative worked to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system as part of their overall reform work. The DMC Action Network launched in 2007 took a more intensive approach and brought together teams from select local jurisdictions to concentrate specific on this issue. The Network introduced them to national experts and created the opportunity for group problem solving on 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 culturally relevant alternatives to post-disposition incarceration.


The DMC Action Network was coordinated by the Center for Children’s Law and Policy.

Supported by

Models for Change was a juvenile justice systems reform initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.