Reducing Racial & Ethnic Disparity (RED)
In the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 2002, Congress required that States participating in the Formula Grants Program "address juvenile delinquency prevention efforts and system improvement efforts designed to reduce, without establishing or requiring numerical standards or quotas, the disproportionate number of juvenile members of minority groups, who come into contact with the juvenile justice system." The Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 changed the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) requirement to focus on Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED). It requires that states:
- collect and analyze data on racial and ethnic disparities;
- determine which points create RED, and
- establish a plan to address RED.
New Mexico is dedicated to the equal and fair treatment for every youth (regardless of membership in a minority or majority population group) who comes into contact with the juvenile justice system. Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparity (RED) is a special initiative of CYFD Field Services’ Special Programs Unit. The Unit’s RED Coordinator is implementing OJJDP’s Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED) Reduction Model and its five phases to decrease disproportionate minority contact with juveniles. The phases are:
1. Identification: to determine the extent to which RED exists, using percentages and population data in combination with the 5 decision points – Arrest, Diversion, Pretrial Detention, Secure Confinement, and Transfer to Adult Court. Collect data for each of these points by race/ethnicity, and use this to calculate the percentages.
2. Develop an Action Plan: begin by assessing potential contributing mechanisms for RED, if it exists. Use the data in the Identification stage to begin focusing efforts on one decision point and/or one racial/ethnic minority group.
3. Outcome Based Evaluation: Monitor the progress of your action plan. Did it accomplish what you wanted? If so, why and how? If not, why and what actions will be taken to correct this?
It is important to note the “process is the product” in RRED work, this model takes time to implement. Much of the work is getting stakeholders to the table and being willing to talk using shared definitions, a common goal, and common race equity language.
CYFD reports progress to OJJDP annually. Data reflects that minorities are over-represented in many decision points in the juvenile justice system (i.e., arrest, adjudication, etc.). In recent years, CYFD has revised strategies and programs to address this issue. Additional training for all professionals involved at the decision points in the system is needed so that race and ethnicity are not factors in these decisions. RED is best impacted with data-informed decisions and actions at the local level, with support through state-wide and CFYD agency-wide approaches, policies and strategies.