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 often-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 is a critical objective for the Models for Change initiative, and has been the focus of the four core states and the DMC Action Network states. States are working to understand the nature of the problem through better data collection and analysis. Based on data, states are working to identify appropriate interventions that include tools to promote objective decision-making, improved language and cultural competency, education and workforce development, and detention alternative and nontraditional services
Through improved data and intentional and targeted interventions, Models for Change promotes fair and unbiased juvenile justice systems that treat youth equally regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Read more about the issues of racial and ethnic fairness at JJIE.org's Resource Hub.
Initiative tools, research, knowledge, and innovations to promote reform
Guidelines for Collecting and Recording the Race and Ethnicity of Youth in Illinois’ Juvenile Justice System
- Nov 24, 2008, Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission
- The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission and the Illinois Models for Change Initiative strongly encourage agencies, organizations and practitioners at all stages of the juvenile justice system to…
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…
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,…
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…
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…
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