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DMC: Disproportionate Minority Contact

Disproportionate minority contact (DMC) is the number one priority of the Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice (WA-PCJJ).  Washington State's RRI reveals that youth of color are treated disproportionately in the juvenile justice system.

Studies conducted in Washington State have confirmed that minority youth are disproportionately represented as a youth progresses through the juvenile justice system.  The difference between minority and non-minority juveniles’ representation becomes amplified with each successive decision point.  Although minorities are approximately 33 percent of the juvenile age 10-17 population, they are 55 percent of the JRA population in 2010.

Relative Rate Index (RRI) for Washington Statewide in 2010 show: 

  • Generally, DMC does exist at all levels of the juvenile justice system in Washington State.
  • Asian arrest RRI is lower than the White population (.26) 
  • African-American youth arrest RRI remains higher than any other ethnic/racial category at 1.50.  (Compared to 1.72 in 2009 and 1.73 in 2008.) 
  • Native American arrest RRI is 1.36. (Relative unchanged from 2009 and 2008.) 
  • All minority youth are referred to juvenile court at a much higher rate than White youth, with American Indian, Asian and African American youth referring at the highest rates of 1.78 and 1.7, and 1.63 respectively. 
  • The RRI shows that non-White youth are diverted significantly less often than White youth.
  • American Indian and African American youth are disproportionately securely detained at 1.64 and 1.19 respectively.

Goals include to reduce the representation of youth of color at each stage of the juvenile justice system; increase participation by members of diverse communities in making policy recommendations regarding DMC; assist in delivering juvenile justice services in Washington State with a high degree of cultural competency; and build true collaboration and relationship building around DMC.

The WA State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice released an RFP in December 2011, seeking proposals that:  support community capacity building around DMC, sustain/enhance current local DMC efforts, create innovative new DMC programs, or that replicate DMC promising programs.   The Council selected five proposals for funding, and awarded 8-month grants to the following communities:  Building the Bridges in Lakewood, WA; Clark County; Come Clean in Seattle, WA; King County; and TeamChild (see the Formula Grants funded projects list for additional information).

Federal funds in the DMC program area also continue to provide for a part-time DMC Coordinator position within the Office of Juvenile Justice, DSHS. 
The state advisory group’s DMC Standing Committee has selected arrest and referral, and prevention as their focus areas for 2012.  (See the “Minority Youth in the Juvenile Justice System” section of this annual report for additional information on the Council’s plan and efforts to address and impact DMC.)

For more information please go to Annual Report, Minority Youth in the Juvenile Justice System section. Or please contact Lisa Wolph, Washington State DMC Coordinator.


Racial Disproportionality in the Juvenile Justice System (pdf) 

DMC News & Informational Links