This release of racial and ethnic disproportionality indicator data is intended to help Washington State's juvenile courts identify where in the juvenile justice system- from arrest to sentencing-disproportionate minority contact (DMC) occurs. Disproportionate minority contact is a disparity between any race or ethnic group's representation in the justice system relative to the general population.
State- and court-level five-year averages (2007-2011) are presented by DMC indicator for a total of eight tables. If courts have fewer than ten youth in any category, the output is not reported. This is done to prevent misleading results due to small numbers.
The tables were produced by the Washington State Center for Court Research and the National Center for Juvenile Justice. The publication of these tables is the Administrative Office of the Courts first statewide attempt at identifying areas of disproportionality in the juvenile justice system. **It is important to note that this initial data release is intended to be viewed as a starting point from which to improve our data collection methods and capabilities for future review. It is possible that some of this data will not coincide exactly with similar data from other sources, and this should be considered when reviewing these tables.**
Using data to identify areas of racial disproportionality can inform community-focused discussions exploring causes for these disparities and resulting in the development of data-driven solutions that are equitable for all. The intent is for this information to be provided on an annual basis. Improved reporting of racial and ethnic data is necessary to increase the accuracy of these measures. An important step toward having usable, reliable data is to reduce the number of court records for which there is missing information about race and ethnicity. Continued reporting of DMC data and the accountability it brings will increase the odds of achieving lasting and meaningful improvements to reduce-and eventually eliminate-racial and ethnic disproportionality in the juvenile justice system.
Improving the utility of this data over time is a statewide goal requiring a combined effort and open communication; please contact us with your comments and suggestions.