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The Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act charges states to institute multipronged strategies not only to prevent delinquency but to improve the juvenile justice system and assure equal treatment of all youth. To successfully address Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC), the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention recommends a five-phase process, whereby jurisdictions: 1) identify whether disproportionality exists and the extent to which it exists at all contact stages of the juvenile justice system; 2) assess the contributing factors; 3) provide an intervention plan; 4) evaluate the efficacy of efforts to reduce DMC; and 5) monitor and track DMC trends over time to identify emerging critical issues and to determine whether there has been progress. The goal of this assessment is to identify the factors that contribute to DMC in the State of Kansas so that Kansas’ juvenile justice system stakeholders can design appropriate intervention strategies. To do this, DMC was examined at three key decision points: arrest, secure detention and case management placements. Because data were made available regarding juvenile intake and assessment (which intersect with both law enforcement and secure detention) this data point was also examined. Like many assessments of this type, we were limited by the availability and quality of data. However, the report and recommendations that follow identify ways in which Kansas can explore data-driven approaches to addressing the overrepresentation of minority youth in the Kansas juvenile justice system.


This report was funded by grants 2009JFFX0036 and 2010JFFX0031 from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Juvenile Accountability Block Grant.