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This site was archived January 1, 2018 and is no longer updated.

Racial-ethnic fairness/DMC

Data-driven strategies to reduce racial and ethnic disparities and promote a more fair juvenile justice system.

Youth of color are overrepresented at nearly every point of contact with the juvenile justice system—and the finding 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. Whether these stark differences are the result of biases in decision-making, social or economic differences that are merely correlated with race and ethnicity, or more complex structural factors, they are unacceptable in a democratic society.

Reducing "disproportionate minority contact" (DMC) with the juvenile justice system was a critical objective for the Models for Change initiative, and the focus of the four core states and the DMC Action Network states. States worked to understand the nature of the problem through better data collection and analysis. Better data allows systems to identify appropriate interventions that promote objective decision-making. Other tools for addressing DMC include improved language and cultural competency, education and workforce development, and expanded detention alternative and nontraditional services

Through improved data and intentional and targeted interventions, Models for Change promoted fair and unbiased juvenile justice systems that treat youth equally regardless of their race or ethnicity.

Featured publications

Initiative tools, research, knowledge, and innovations to promote reform

Publication cover Race Matters: Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System
Dec 12, 2014, Center for Children's Law and Policy
Racial and ethnic disparities are one of the most pervasive and disturbing characteristics of our juvenile justice system. Youth of color are over-represented at key decision points, including…
Publication cover Innovation Brief: Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Pennsylvania
Nov 30, 2012, Dana Shoenberg
Across the United States, youth of color are disproportionately represented at every stage of the juvenile justice system, with the greatest disparities at the deepest end of the system. Although…
Publication cover Knowledge Brief: Are Minority Youths Treated Differently in Juvenile Probation?
Dec 1, 2011, Models for Change Research Initiative
While many studies have examined disproportionate minority contact at the front endof the juvenile justice system, few have examined disparities deep within the system—in particular,…
Publication cover DMC Performance Measures
Dec 3, 2009, Lisa Garry
The purpose of this document is to collect and report performance measures that are relevant to the site's Strategic Innovations and other indicators of progress in the local collaborative to reduce…
Publication cover Collecting and Analyzing Data on Racial and Ethnic Disparities: The Peoria Pilot Project
Apr 1, 2009, James Bell
The W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation collaborated to develop and pilot a data template that enables local jurisdictions to strategically gather…

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Leading organizations

Network partners advancing reforms and providing assistance, lessons, and support

W. Haywood Burns Institute
(415) 321-4100
Center for Children’s Law and Policy
(202) 637-0377

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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.