R.E.D. - Racial & Ethnic Disparities

(Also referred to as DMC (Disproportionate Minority Contact)


Step into juvenile delinquency courts throughout the state and you usually will find the number of children of color who appear there are out of proportion to their numbers in the surrounding community.  For decades, they have been over-represented at every stage of the delinquency process from arrest and confinement to transfer to the adult system. Causes are varied and often resistant to change.

Improved data collection and analysis in many localities has helped spur the development of strategies to reduce disparities among youth who come in contact with the juvenile justice system. The work is paving the way for a more equitable juvenile justice system that will treat youth fairly regardless of their race or ethnicity.[1]

A report released by the Sentencing Project in August 2014, “Race and Punishment: racial perceptions of crime and support for punitive policies” concludes:

  • White Americans are more punitive than people of color.
  • Whites misjudge how much crime is committed by African Americans and Latinos.
  • Whites who more strongly associate crime with racial minorities are more supportive of punitive policies.
  • Media crime coverage fuels racial perceptions of crime.
  • Policymakers’ actions and statements amplify the public’s racial associations of crime.
  • Criminal justice practitioners also operate with and reinforce racial perceptions of crime.
  • Racial perceptions of crime have distorted the criminal justice system.
  • Racial perceptions of crime have undermined public safety.

This report concludes with recommendations on how the media, researchers, policymakers, and criminal justice professionals can address and mitigate the effects of racial perceptions of crime and lay the groundwork for more just crime control policies. [2]

The Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice's number one priority is racial and ethnic disparities.

[1] Juvenile Justice Information Exchange: https://jjie.org/hub/racial-ethnic-fairness/

[2] https://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Race-and-Punishment.pdf

R.E.D./DMC News & Informational Links

Alice Coil is the JJDPA Racial and Ethnic Disparities Manager for the State of Washington.  For more information please contact Alice at Alice.Coil@dcyf.wa.gov or 360-529-7339.