U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Disproportionate Minority Confinement

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1994
2 pages
After documenting the disproportionate representation of minorities in secure juvenile facilities across the Nation, this report describes the strategies being used to address this issue.
National data and research have documented the disproportionate representation of minorities in secure juvenile facilities across the country. Accordingly, States have been entrusted with the responsibility of examining race and ethnicity as factors influencing decisions at various points within the juvenile justice system (e.g., decisions to arrest, detain, commit to training school, etc.). Section 223(a)(23) of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended (Public Law 93-415) requires States to reduce the proportion of minority juveniles detained or confined in secure detention facilities, secure correctional facilities, jails, and lockups if such proportion exceeds the proportion such groups represent in the general population. Beginning with Fiscal Year 1994 funds, as a condition of full participation in the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act Formula Grants Program, States must determine whether disproportionate minority confinement exists, identify the causes, and develop and implement corrective action. States failing to address the overrepresentation of minority youth in confinement will be ineligible to receive 25 percent of their Formula Grant allocation for the year. In 1991, OJJDP issued a Request for Proposals seeking the participation of States to analyze disproportionate minority confinement and develop model programs to address its causes. Five States were selected as pilot sites for this effort. The outcomes of the State programs are expected to produce greater objectivity in decisionmaking at each step in the juvenile justice system, as well as the elimination of the unequal risk of confinement for minority youth.

Date Published: April 1, 1994