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Nebraska State DMC (Disproportionate Minority Contact) Assessment

NCJ Number
Anne Hobbs, J.D., Ph.D.; Elizabeth Neeley, Ph.D.; Candace Behrens; Timbre Wulf-Ludden, M.A.
Date Published
March 2012
149 pages
This assessment identifies the factors that contribute to disproportionate minority contact (DMC) with Nebraska's juvenile justice system, so that appropriate intervention strategies can be implemented to reduce DMC.
Compared to the racial and ethnic distribution of the general youth population in Nebraska, Black, Indian, and Hispanic youth were significantly overrepresented in the youth committed to the Office of Juvenile Services (OJS), and White youth were significantly underrepresented in the number of youth committed to OJS. Based on an analysis of the factors that contribute to DMC, five general recommendations are offered. First, since "discretion points" characterized by subjective criteria/processes have the potential for racially biased decisions. These processing points should be evaluated to determine whether race-neutral objective decisionmaking criteria are feasible. Second, improving the racial/ethnic diversity in the juvenile justice's workforce can improve both the appearance and the implementation of race-neutral attitudes among juvenile justice decisionmakers. Third, in 2012, Nebraska's Administrative Office of the Courts will be developing a Language Access Plan in order to ensure meaningful access to court services for those with limited English proficiency. All juvenile justice system stakeholders should participate in this effort. Fourth, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) should be expanded throughout the State as the most promising and data-driven approach for counties and the State in addressing DMC. Fifth, the DMC Committee and Coordinator should develop an education plan to expand knowledge among juvenile justice system stakeholders about DMC and should coordinate the provision of cross-agency training opportunities to improve cultural competence. In addition to these general recommendations, more targeted recommendations address data management, law enforcement, diversion, secure detention, juvenile court, juvenile transfers to adult court, juvenile probation, and the Office of Juvenile Services. 14 tables, 54 references, and appended supplementary data