What is DMC?
The disproportionate minority contact mandate (DMC) was designed to ensure that youthful offenders, regardless of their position in the social structure, receive equitable treatment within the juvenile justice system (Coalition for Juvenile Justice, 1993)
DMC in Johnson County:
In Johnson County, African American youth are overrepresented relative to whites in terms of juvenile arrests (relative rate=6.50), referral to juvenile court (relative rate=5.91), and confinement in secure correctional facilities (relative rate=2.32). (Leiber, Johnson, & Fox, 2006)
To reduce the disproportionate number of minority youth coming into contact with the system, community based resources and programs need to be established and/or continued to be funded that focus on delinquency prevention. It is important to establish outreach efforts to both parents and youth to connect them with activities that already exist. Most important is that minority youth have access to and the opportunity to participate in these programs. A multi-prong approach is needed to reduce DMC that includes a variety of strategies that focus on the prevention of delinquency, possible selection bias, and deficiencies in the juvenile justice system. (Leiber, Johnson, & Fox, 2006)
Diversion Programs and Juvenile Justice
Keeping juveniles completely out of the justice system but still holding them accountable will reduce the recidivism of first time status offenders.
Removing young people from their communities and dropping them into secure detention halts their development while causing many long-term injurious consequences that amount to anything but rehabilitation. Too often, youth of color get locked up and their development is suspended. Many young people who have been incarcerated and returned to the community become unable to break out of behaviors that they might have otherwise outgrown as adults. (Cahn and Robbins, 2010)
- Increasing diversity among school and law enforcement staff.
- Offering school buses to take kids home from extracurricular activities.
- Ensuring police officers live in the communities where they work.
- Offering cultural competency training or orientation in communities.