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Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Narrative & Data

LANCASTER COUNTY STATISTICS
Disproportionate Minority Contact Youth Referred to Points in the Juvenile Justice System1
2002 (Calendar Year)

DMC Quick Facts

Disproportionate Minority Confinement, or DMC, originally referred to the overrepresentation of minority juveniles in confined settings. In the past year, the federal government has revised this term to "Disproportionate Minority Contact," recognizing that over-representation begins much earlier than the point where a youth is confined.

Minority youth are frequently over-represented at various points in the juvenile system. When examining over-representation, there are crucial decision-making points that need to be studied, these include: the point of arrest, the decision to charge the youth or divert the case, whether the youth is charged as an adult or a juvenile, whether the youth is placed on probation, the outcome or discharge from probation, and the decision to detain a youth. It is also important to examine whether youth were offered opportunities to "get out" of the juvenile justice system, through programs like Juvenile Diversion, Drug Court and Expediter.

All Minority Youth | View All Minority Youth Report PDF 90K
Roughly 15% of the juvenile population of Lancaster County (ages 0-17) are minorities. An examination of arrest data reveals that minority youth make up 22% of juvenile arrests. What this tells us is that minority youth are arrested at one and a half times the rate at which they occur in the Lancaster County population. Minority youth are placed on probation at one and a half times the rate of minority youth in the population, and held in the Lancaster County Detention Center at more than two times the rate at which minority youth occur in county.

When we compare over-representation rates in Lancaster County -to over-representation on a national level - Lancaster County looks like it is in great shape! Over-representation at twice the rate is not all that bad, when you compare jurisdictions that are showing index values of nine (minority youth are represented at nine times the rate in which they occur in the population.) However, Lancaster County's numbers are a little more revealing when we examine over-representation by individual races.

African American Youth | View African American Youth Report PDF 66K
African American or black youth tend to have some of the highest rates of over-representation nation-wide and Lancaster County is no exception! African American or black youth comprised 14% of the juvenile arrests from January to December 2002 - even though only 4% of the juveniles in Lancaster County are black or of African American heritage. This is more than three and a half times the rate that would indicate black youth are arrested at an equitable rate!

An examination of black youth placed on probation and whether or not they were successful on probation, is also revealing. Although 11% of youth placed on probation are African American/ black, more than 13% of the youth who were not successful and had probation revoked were African American youth. What this tells us is that black youth are not as successful in our probation system as other minority groups.

Native American Youth | View Native American Youth Report PDF 90K
Native American youth comprised 2.3% of juvenile arrests in Lancaster County from January to December 2002 - even though Native American youth account for less than 1% of the juveniles in Lancaster County. This is more than two and a half times the rate that would indicate that Native American youth are arrested at an equitable rate.

The largest disparities in our juvenile justice system appear to be in regard to the Native American community. An examination of Native American youth placed on probation -indicates that Native American youth are more likely to be placed on probation than any other minority group, but slightly less likely than other groups to be successful on probation. Almost 3.5% of youth placed on probation are Native American; roughly 4% fail to complete their probation satisfactorily. That is almost 5 times the rate at which Native American youth occur in the population. When one looks deeper at the lack of success on probation -and examines the racial breakdown of youth who have their probation revoked and who are sent to a Youth Rehabilitation Center -the disparity is even more pronounced. Approximately 7% of all youth revoked to YRTC's were Native American youth - this is eight times the rate of Native American youth in our community.

Native American youth are detained at more than six times the population rate of Native American youth in Lancaster County and made OJS commitments at eight times the rate that would indicate equity. Although the overall numbers of Native American youth represented are fairly small (which can skew the data), this group is very consistently over-represented in this community. We must examine what is happening to Native American youth in our juvenile justice system, and why the data shows such inequities.

Hispanic Youth | View Hispanic Youth Report PDF 88K
Hispanic youth comprised 6% of the juvenile arrests in Lancaster County from January to December 2002 - even though Hispanic youth account for roughly 5% of the juveniles in Lancaster County. Although this is not terribly over-representative - one must also recognize that Hispanic youth are frequently not accurately counted in racial breakdown of data.

An examination of Hispanic youth placed on probation -indicates more disparity than the arrest rates indicate. Hispanic youth in Lancaster County receive probation at a rate comparable to the percent in the population. However, Hispanic youth appear to be more likely to have their probation revoked and be sent to YRTC. Hispanic youth accounted for 7% of the probation discharges in calendar year 2002 - but more than 13% of the 30 cases where the youth had probation revoked and was sent to Geneva or Kearney. This is almost 3 times the rate at which Hispanic youth live in our community.

Asian Youth | View Asian Youth Report PDF 88K
Census data indicates that the Asian population may be the fastest growing minority community in the State of Nebraska. Population growth often leads to spikes of over-representation. Asian youth, however, are the only minority group that is under-represented in the Lancaster County juvenile justice system. This is true of the Asian community in many other parts of Nebraska-as well as many communities-nationwide.

Although Asian youth comprise 3.4% of the Lancaster County Community, they account for less than .03% of the juvenile arrests and less than 1% of youth who receive diversion.

The data indicating under-representation is consistent at each point in the Lancaster County Juvenile justice system. From January 2002 to December 2002, approximately 2% of Asian youth were placed on probation; only 1.4% were placed in the Detention Center, and less than 1% were committed to the Office of Juvenile Services. The only place were Asian youth come close to the percent of Asian youth in the community - is the percent of youth who have their probation revoked and who are consequently sent to YRTCs.

Caucasian Youth | View Caucasian Youth Report PDF 90K
There are no points in the juvenile justice system where Caucasian youth are over-represented. Roughly 85% of the youth (ages 0-17) in Lancaster County are Caucasian youth, according to the 2000 Census. Roughly 84% of the youth arrested are Caucasian, indicating almost exactly a 1:1 index rate.

Diverting Out of the Juvenile Justcie System
While it is important to examine how many minority youth are arrested, or placed on probation or admitted to the Detention Center, it is also vitally important to examine whether youth are offered opportunities to "get out" of the juvenile justice system-- through programs like Juvenile Diversion, Juvenile Drug Court and Juvenile Expediter Programs.

For instance, if one knows that African American or Black youth are over-represented in the detention facility but under-represented in the diversion programs, one conclusion might be that efforts should be directed at getting youth enrolled in diversion.

The data from Lancaster County illustrates that some minority groups are not being diverting at the same rate at which they enter the system. Native American youth, for example, are over-represented at each point in the system-except the points where a youth can enroll in programs to stay out of the system. Native American youth are not enrolling in diversion at the same rate at which they are arrested. Nor are they completing programs like Drug Court. In 2002-no Native American youth went through the Juvenile Drug Court program.

Data Limitations and Uses
To impact the problem of over-representation we must allow data to direct our efforts. Although our data sets are never perfect-- data is an important tool that can help us isolate the problem and begin to identify possible solutions. But data serves only as a map, in our journey toward equity and cultural competency ~ it is not the destination.

Lancaster County Quick DMC Data Facts:
January to December 2002

African American Youth in Lancaster County:
  • Make up 3.9% of the juvenile population in the county (2000 Census data)
  • Account for 14% of juveniles arrested
  • Have probation revoked at almost 3 times the rate that would indicate equity
  • Make up 16% of the youth in the Juvenile Detention Center, which is more than 4 times the population rate.
  • Are sent to YRTC at two and a half times the rate of the juvenile population (10% of youth who have their probation revoked and are sent to YRTC are African American/Black youth.)
Native American Youth in Lancaster County:
  • Make up only .85% of the juvenile population in the county (2000 Census data)
  • Account for 2.3% of juveniles arrested
  • Are not successful on probation at 5 times the rate that would indicate equity
  • Make up 5.4% of the youth in the Juvenile Detention Center, which is more than 6 times the population rate.
  • Are sent to YRTC at almost 8 times the rate of the juvenile population (due to a small number of total youth sent to YRTC this number may be skewed.
Hispanic Youth in Lancaster County:
  • Make up only 5.0% of the juvenile population in the county (2000 Census data)
  • Although Hispanic youth account for 6% of overall juveniles arrested.
  • Are placed on probation at roughly the same rate that Hispanic youth occur in the population, but are revoked to YRTC at almost 3 times the rate.
  • Make up 8.9% of the youth in the Juvenile Detention Center, which is almost twice the 5% rate of Hispanic youth in the Lancaster County community.
Asian Youth in Lancaster County:
  • The only minority group where youth do not appear to be over-represented in the Lancaster County juvenile justice system.
  • Make up 3.4% of the juvenile population in the county (2000 Census data)
  • Account for only 1.5 % of juveniles arrested
  • Asian youth accounted for a less than 3.5% of cases at each point of the Lancaster County Juvenile Justcie system.
Caucasian Youth in Lancaster County:
  • Make up 85% of the juvenile population in the county (2000 Census data)
  • Account for 84% of juveniles arrested
  • Caucasian youth account for 77% of the youth who go through diversion
  • 78% of the youth who receive probation
  • Roughly 67% of the youth who are held in the Lancaster County Detention Center or sent to YRTC.

1Data provided by the Lancaster County Juvenile Diversion Program operated by CEDARS Youth Services.

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