The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is a leader in efforts to reduce the overrepresentation of minority youth in the Nation's juvenile justice system. Funding through OJJDP's Formula Grants program (Title II) helps states address juvenile delinquency and supports improvements to the juvenile justice system.
The funds also help states address the core requirements of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA):
- deinstitutionalization of status offenders,
- separation of juveniles from adult inmates,
- removal of juveniles from adult jails and lockups, and
- identify and reduce racial and ethnic disparities (RED) among youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system.
Racial and ethnic disparities exists if a specific minority group’s rate of contact at a particular point in the juvenile justice system is different than the rate of contact for non-Hispanic whites or other minority groups.
Beginning in fiscal year 2019, OJJDP's State Relations and Assistance Division (SRAD) implemented a streamlined Title II application process that simplified racial and ethnic disparities data collection requirements.
States achieve compliance with this core requirement when they address racial and ethnic disparities through the following: identification, development of an action plan, and an outcome-based evaluation.
The number of contact points for which reporting is required has been narrowed to five that research supports as the most critical. In addition, OJJDP will now be asking states to identify how they define success with their racial and ethnic disparities reduction efforts and to evaluate the outcome of their plans to assess what impact they had, if any, on disproportionality.
Core Requirement of JJDP Act
In December 2018, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 (JJRA) was signed into law, reauthorizing and substantially amending the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA).
Pursuant to the JJDPA, as amended at 34 U.S.C. § 11133(a)(15), states and territories must ”implement policy, practice, and system improvement strategies at the state, territorial, local, and tribal levels, as applicable, to identify and reduce racial and ethnic disparities among youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system, without establishing or requiring numerical standards or quotas, by—
- Establishing or designating existing coordinating bodies, composed of juvenile justice stakeholders (including representatives of the educational system) at the state, local, or tribal levels, to advise efforts by states, units of local government, and Indian Tribes to reduce racial and ethnic disparities;
- Identifying and analyzing data on race and ethnicity at decision points in state, local, or tribal juvenile justice systems to determine which such points create racial and ethnic disparities among youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system; and
- Developing and implementing a work plan that includes measurable objectives for policy, practice, or other system changes, based on the needs identified in the data collection and analysis under subparagraph (B).
Each State must report on its progress in its comprehensive JJDP 3-year plan and subsequent plan updates. OJJDP reviews the plan updates annually. Any State that fails to identify and reduce racial and ethnic disparities among youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system stands to lose 20 percent of its Formula Grants allocation for the year.
New Approach to Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities
To be eligible to receive federal funding, states are required to implement plans to reduce disproportionate minority contact, as outlined in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. OJJDP is committed to working with states to reduce racial and ethnic disparities (RED) formerly known as disproportionate minority contact (DMC). In 2018, OJJDP implemented a new, outcome-based approach to assessing states’ efforts to address racial and ethnic disparities among minority youth within the juvenile justice system. Data is now collected on five research-supported points of contact in the court system where DMC most often occurs. They are:
- Diversion (filing of charges)
- Pre-trial detention (both secure and nonsecure)
- Disposition commitments (secure and nonsecure)
- Adult transfer
By focusing states’ reduction efforts on these five pivotal points of contact, and by enhancing technical assistance to states aimed at reducing disproportionate contact of minority youth with the juvenile justice system, we hope to see significant reductions in racial and ethnic disparities.
Read former Administrator Caren Harp’s oped on how OJJDP Is Simplifying Title II Work to Focus on DMC Reduction, Not Process.
Access more information on Compliance with the Core Requirements of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act including a redlined version of the JJDP Act with JJRA amendments.