Disproportionate Minority Contact Identification in NH
Date: June 17th, 2013
National data suggests that minorities are overrepresented in juvenile justice systems across the country, and that DMC increases as youth move through the system. For example, the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division recently completed an investigation into the operations of the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee, and found extensive racial disparities in the treatment of African American children: African American youth are twice as likely as white youth to be recommended for transfer to adult court.
Our analysis indicates that DMC does exist in the New Hampshire juvenile justice system. However, there are significant hurdles, both in terms of data reliability and statistical precision, in calculating trustworthy DMC measurements in New Hampshire, particularly outside of the state’s larger municipalities.
The Division for Juvenile Justice Services (DJJS) currently calculates DMC measurements along the nine points of contact for the cities of Manchester, Nashua and Rochester annually. We recommend that DJJS extend the detailed DMC calculation to the municipalities of Concord and Salem, and that consideration be given to establishing regional DMC committees in those municipalities.
We also recommend that DMC data collection be improved in New Hampshire. Some of these efforts to gather better DMC data are already underway, including improvements in the design of the juvenile petition. The importance of more reliable DMC data cannot be overstressed, as identifying the reasons for DMC are critical as New Hampshire moves from identification of DMC, to assessment and finally to methods and approaches for reducing DMC in New Hampshire.