Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) programs address the overrepresentation of minority youth in the juvenile justice system at all points in the juvenile justice process.
Wisconsin is seen as a leader of state DMC-reduction efforts for many reasons, such as its efforts to include tribal entities and nonprofits in the overall state strategy as well as developing a curriculum that informs law enforcement officers of the existence and causes of DMC. Wisconsin's DMC reduction effort has developed into a program that is cited as a model for other states.
What occurs in the Juvenile Justice system determines lifepaths. Between age 17 and 24 young people experience a window of opportunity; this is time when young adults pursue continuing education, enter military service, acquire job and trade skills, and develop ties to a community. These events shape who people will be and what they are able to become over the course of their entire lives. Juveniles who are incarcerated during this critical period lose that time and are permanently behind.
The impacts that follow Juveniles adjudicated with a felony throughout their lives are numerous and permanent. Barriers created early can define their whole lives--where they can enter the job market, the level of income they will be able to achieve, how able they will be to care for their families.
Adjudication means loss of access to Pell grants and other programs that can help further education, which can leave young people only qualified for unskilled employment. Eligibility for activities, such as hunting, that are valued by Wisconsin citizens and are part of a family experience may be diminished. Altered relationships with family and community, low income and economic prospects, and previous involvement in the juvenile system may increase the likelihood of further contact with the criminal justice system as an adult and may result in re-incarceration.
Page updated: 08/23/2013