This video conference presents a lecture, accompanied by questions and answers, on a new method for measuring "disproportionate minority contact" (DMC) as required by the 2002 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act 2002 (JJDP).
The JJDP requires that juvenile justice systems continually measure and monitor the DMC of their juvenile case processing in order to ensure the equal and fair treatment for every youth in the juvenile justice system regardless of race and ethnicity. The current system of measuring DMC involves determining the proportion of minority juveniles in a justice system in relation to their proportion in the general population. This video conference discusses why a new method of measuring DMC is needed and then proposes a new measurement method called "Relative Rate Index" (RRI). The RRI is proposed as a more accurate and useful measure for revealing the degree to which the juveniles of each of six major minority groups may be involved at each stage of juvenile case processing at higher rates than white juveniles being processed for similar offenses. Under the RRI method, the rate of representation for each minority juvenile group is compared with the rate for white juveniles. The RRI is computed for each group at each stage of case processing. The only RRI that is computed in relation to the group's representation in the general population is the initial police contact with the juvenile. The RRI at successive stages of processing is based on population representation at the previous stage of case processing. This permits the isolation of the degree of potentially biased decisionmaking with respect to minority juveniles in relation to white juveniles at each stage of decisionmaking that bears on case outcomes.