Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED)

According to the U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), disproportionate minority contact refers to the disproportionate number of minority youth who have contact with the juvenile justice system. DMC examines the rate in which minorities have contact at various points of the juvenile justice system.

Participation in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act (2002) links North Carolina with federal regulations addressing DMC. The JJDP Act establishes voluntary partnerships between the federal government and states. The JJDP Act has four core requirements:

  • Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders;
  • Sight and Sound Separation;
  • Adult Jail and Lockup Removal; and 
  • Disproportionate Minority Contact. 

North Carolina receives federal funding in support of programs designed to address DMC, as well as provide valuable services to at-risk youth and families. The federal government provides training and technical assistance and awards states funds to improve delinquency prevention and juvenile justice efforts. 

The N.C. Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice (DACJJ) has implemented policies, strategies and best practices to reduce DMC in juvenile justice. A cross-section of agency professionals is involved in examining practices, including disaggregation of data collection by race and ethnicity, establishing cultural competency training, and increasing alternatives to detention. Collaboration with juvenile court counselors and other juvenile justice professionals, and establishing relationships with key stakeholders at each decision point in the juvenile justice process, including detention, is essential. Decreasing the number of youth unnecessarily or inappropriately detained reduces disproportionate minority confinement and contact with the juvenile justice system. DACJJ supports efforts by local grant recipients with initiatives that provide opportunities for reducing DMC. Other strategies to target DMC consist of partnering with Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils (JCPC), and juvenile justice professionals that provide education and awareness to law enforcement, school resource officers, stakeholders and the public. DMC is effectively addressed by implementing and sustaining policies, practices, procedures and multipronged intervention strategies to ensure equal treatment of all youth.

For additional information on Disproportionate Minority Contact, please contact Crystal Wynn-Lewis, DMC Coordinator for the Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, at 919-733-3388.