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Indiana Criminal Justice Institute

ICJI > Youth > Disproportionate Minority Contact Disproportionate Minority Contact

What is Disproportionate Minority Contact?

Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) refers to overrepresentation (and at times underrepresentation) of minority youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system at a rate that is not proportionate to their representation in their general population.

The different racial and ethnic groups are:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native (Non-Hispanic)
  • Asian (Non-Hispanic)
  • Black or African American (Non-Hispanic)
  • Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders (Non-Hispanic)
  • Hispanic or Latino (of any race)
  • Mixed or Other (Non-Hispanic)
  • White (Non-Hispanic)

Contact refers to the different decision points along the juvenile justice system continuum.

  • Arrests
  • Delinquent Findings
  • Diversion
  • Petition Filed
  • Probation
  • Referrals
  • Secure Confinement
  • Secure Detention
  • Waived to Adult Court

The DMC Reduction Model

To help comply with the DMC core requirement, states are required to adopt and implement the DMC Reduction Model developed by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the federal entity charged with overseeing the Formula Grant Program. The model has five continuous steps that are designed to: DMC Model

  • Identification:
    Determine if DMC exists, and if so, to what extent.
  • Assessment:
    Using a quantitative and qualitative approach, assess the mechanisms that are contributing to DMC.
  • Intervention:
    Develop and implement intervention strategies to address the reasons identified in the previous stage.
  • Evaluation:
    Conduct an evaluation of effectiveness of the intervention strategies that were implemented.
  • Monitoring:
    Track changes in DMC trends and adjust intervention strategies as needed.

Indiana’s DMC Reduction Efforts

As Indiana's administering agency, ICJI routinely receives and allocates federal Formula Grant funding. ICJI is also tasked with ensuring that Indiana achieves and maintains compliance with the four core requirements. For additional information about the first three core requirements and how they are being addressed in Indiana, visit Youth Law T.E.A.M.

Statewide DMC Data Collection Project

Indiana is in compliance with the DMC core requirement. The State of Indiana, with the assistance of the Indiana University Center for Criminal Justice Research, completed a statewide DMC data collection project during which data was collected for all of Indiana’s 92 counties, for eight of the nine decision points, from 2005 through 2009. The project was designed to help determine if DMC exists across the state, and if so, to what extent. The completion of the project also aligns with Indiana’s efforts to improve its juvenile justice system, including the reduction of racial and ethnic disparities. The report will enable us to further explore the mechanisms that are contributing to racial disparities and DMC in Indiana’s juvenile justice system. It will help counties understand how they can assist in maintaining compliance with the JJDP Act, and most importantly, help to improve outcomes for youth and their families who come in contact with the juvenile justice system. Click here to view a copy of the full report.

DMC Assessment

Partnering with Community Solutions and the Center for Criminal Justice Research, the state is in the process of completing a DMC assessment in LaPorte, Allen, and Vanderburgh Counties. Using a qualitative and quantitative approach, researchers will work with each county to identify the mechanisms and factors that are contributing to DMC in the counties mentioned above. Click here to view a copy of the full report.

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

Indiana was recently designated a statewide Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) site by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. JDAI, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a detention reform and juvenile justice system improvement initiative that has demonstrated over 20 years, in urban and rural jurisdictions, that moving low-risk youth from secure detention into community-based alternative programs is excellent public policy. Guided by eight core principles, JDAI has established outstanding public safety outcomes, reduced racial and ethnic disparities, minimized detention over-crowding and the need to build more expensive facilities creating savings for taxpayers, improved efficiencies in the juvenile justice system operations, and produced better outcomes for youth and their families.

Through JDAI, ICJI is currently working with a number of counties to reduce racial and ethnic disparities and DMC in their communities. JDAI sites have received or are currently receiving funds to support local JDAI/DMC Coordinator positions and other initiatives related to JDAI and DMC. A number of counties are also working with the W. Haywood Burns Institute, an organization that provides jurisdictions with guidance and technical assistance as they work to reduce racial equity in their juvenile justice systems. Each JDAI site has established or is in the process of establishing a Racial and Ethnic/DMC subcommittee that will be charged with guiding the work in their respective jurisdiction. There is also a statewide RED/DMC subcommittee that is tasked with addressing cross-cutting DMC issues that arise from the county, as well as ensuring that the state maintains compliance with the JJDP Act. For additional information about Indiana’s JDAI journey, please visit

Indiana’s DMC Coordinator

For additional information, contact the DMC coordinator.