The Justice Department last week put into effect new rules on compliance with the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). The rules were published and made final by the Obama administration, and the new administration signed off after the rules were under review for several months.
The new rules cover three of the four core requirements of JJDPA. The one that was not touched in the Obama administration’s rules: Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC). It is a relatively vague requirement that states address the racial and ethnic disparities in treatment of youth that make contact with the justice system.
This week, a Justice Department representative told YSI that it does plan to issue new rules on DMC compliance. From OJJDP spokesman Jim Goodwin:
OJJDP is currently reviewing DMC core requirement comments and working toward completion of a supplemental final rule. In the interim, OJJDP will continue to use standing regulations and guidelines to ensure state compliance with this core requirement until the supplemental rule is approved.
The comments he refers to came from the early stages of the rule making process for JJDPA. Last August, OJJDP circulated a proposed set of rules that did include DMC, and received public comments about that proposed set through October.
One of the public comments submitted after the proposal was submitted by the W. Haywood Burns Institute and Center for Children’s Law and Policy, two nonprofits that contract with the Justice Department to assist local systems with DMC issues. The organizations said the new rules should “do much more to incorporate what we know about effective efforts to reduce justice system involvement for youth of color and racial and ethnic disparities.”