Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Mission Statement

The DMC Task Force has set its mission:

To develop a comprehensive strategy for raising the awareness of disproportionate contact of minority youth with the juvenile justice system and promote the best practices and policies to eradicate the problem of overrepresentation in the juvenile justice system.

What are Racial and Ethnic Disparities ?

Previously referred to as Disproportionate Minority Contact, R/ED refers to the disproportionate number of minority children who come into contact with the juvenile justice system.

Disproportionate Minority Confinement Study

Tennessee has released a study examining the problem of DMC in Tennessee. The study used both a quantitative and qualitative methods to collect information on youth coming in contact with Tennessee's juvenile courts and makes recommendations to address DMC in the future.

R/ED in Tennessee

In 2007 59 percent of youth in the state's secure detention centers were African-American.

Eighty percent of youth transferred to adult court in Tennessee in 2007 were African-American.

In Tennessee, 21 percent of the population the ages of 10 through 17 was African-American.

At this time, Tennessee and all other states are engaged in efforts to determine whether or not minorities are disproportionately incarcerated in the state. In 1988, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act was amended to require states to "address efforts to reduce the proportion of juveniles detained or confined in secure detention facilities, secure correctional facilities, jails and lockups who are members of minority groups if such proportion exceeds the proportion such groups represent in the general population."


Copeland, Linda

Linda Copeland

Director of Youth Justice