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Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC)

Since 1988, the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act has required states that receive formula grant program funding to determine whether the proportion of juvenile minorities in confinement exceeds their proportion of the population and, if so, to develop corrective strategies. In 1992, Congress elevated this issue to a “core requirement” of the JJDP Act. In 2002, OJJDP changed the requirement from reporting the proportion of minority juveniles in confinement to include the proportion of minorities at each key decision point in the juvenile justice system.

The shift from the focus on “confinement” to “contact” allows a more encompassing examination of the juvenile justice system because racial/ethnic differences can occur at various decision points within the juvenile justice system. Research has shown that the disparity is the most pronounced at the beginning stages – intake and detention decision points - and when racial/ethnic differences are found, they tend to accumulate as youth are processed through the justice system.

Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) policies require states to determine the existence and scope of disproportionate contact and to take meaningful measures to explain and address it. If disproportionate contact does exist, an ‘assessment phase’ is conducted in an attempt to discover the factors that contribute to the overrepresentation of minority youth. Once a state is aware that disproportionate contact is occurring, an ‘intervention phase’ is implemented. In this phase, interventions, programs and policies aimed at reducing DMC are created and implemented.

Maine’s Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) initiative is a multi–phased, sustained effort requiring systems improvement over many years to build a juvenile justice system that is more sensitive to cultural differences. The Phase I of DMC – Identification, focuses on the determination of whether (and where) disproportionate minority contact exists in our juvenile justice system. To comply with Phase I requirements the data must be collected from multiple sources to identify juvenile minority overrepresentation at key decision points.

Maine’s major DMC data source is the Maine Department of Corrections‘comprehensive management information system, the Correctional Information System (CORIS). This information system collects juvenile information from the multiple decision points, including referrals, diversions, petitions, probation, and confinement in a secure correctional facility. The juvenile arrest data is collected by the Maine Department of Public Safety (MDPS) record management systems unit, including summary data - UCR (Uniform Crime Reports) and NIBRS (National Incident Based Reporting).

With the support and partnership of our Statistical Analysis Center, The Muskie School for Public Service, a personalized, easily accessible training curriculum was developed on how to collect citizenship, racial and ethnic data in a sensitive manner.

With this support and partnership, data quality has increased to allow us to see areas of the state where there may be disparity in numbers.

For more detailed accounts of the JJAG DMC work please follow this link ( to the Maine Statistical Analysis Center website where you will find the following reports:

Disproportionate Contact: Youth of Color in Maine's Juvenile Justice System

2012 Cumberland County Law Enforcement Case File Review

Disproportionate Minority Contact in Maine - An Overview

Disproportionate Minority Contact in Maine: DMC Assessment and Identification, January 2010

Culturally Competent Data Collection: A Guide to Interviewing for Accurate Race and Ethnicity Data

Juvenile Disproportionate Minority Contact in Maine: Capacity Assessment Findings and Recommendations

Juvenile Disproportionate Minority Contact

Emma Burke created an interactive tool with 2010 detention, economic and education data by county and region. 2010 Annual Report Data* (.ppt 346kb)