Jump to navigation
The Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, with direction from Colorado House Bill 08-1119, addresses the issue of racial and ethnic disparities in the adult and juvenile justice systems by conducting studies of the policies and practices in Colorado. The statute mandates the Commission to have the goal of reducing disparity and reviewing work and resources compiled by states in the area of disparity reduction.
The CCJJ created the Minority Over-Representation Subcommittee to coordinate and advance the continuing efforts by the Commission regarding issues of minority over-representation and disproportionate minority contact in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
This Disproportionate Minority Contact page reflects some of the ongoing work of the Commission and its MOR Subcommittee. The data provided primarily reflects Colorado’s juvenile justice system, given the availability of data on this system. There is limited information provided on the adult criminal justice system.
According to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of (2002), “minority” populations are defined as American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.
DMC: Disproportionate Minority Contact
The size of the minority population at various points in the juvenile justice system that is disproportionate to that groups portion of the general population. Includes any contact from arrest to confinement and all the decision points in between.
MOR: Minority Over-Representation
Over-representation of minority youth in the juvenile justice system relative to the proportion of the minority youth in the general population.
Relative Rate Index Method
A calculation method, chosen by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, to identify where disproportionate minority contact may exist in the juvenile justice system. The relative rate index (RRI) represents the relative volume of minority juveniles to the volume of majority juveniles (adjusted by population) at stages in the juvenile justice system. For additional background on the calculation method, see this excerpt from a technical assistance manual developed by the NTTAC of the OJJDP.
Research has identified a variety of driving factors that contribute to the existence of disproportionate minority contact of minority youth with the criminal justice system. Below are several factors and the research related to the factor (The full reference for each of the research citations is appended at the end of this section).
Socioeconomic status and family structure
(Winters, Dean, Hirschel, & Brame, 1996; Devine, Coolbaugh & Jenkins, 1998)
Lack of adequate resources
(Devine, Coolbaugh & Jenkins, 1998)
Educational system failures
(Devine, Coolbaugh & Jenkins, 1998; Mata, 1997)
Community risk factors
Over-involvement in crime
Conley, D.J., (1994). Adding color to a Black and White picture: Using qualitative data to explain racial disproportionality in the juvenile justice system. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 31 (2), 135-148.
Devine, P., Coolbaugh, K., & Jenkins, S. (1998). Disproportionate minority confinement: Lessons learned from five states (Juvenile Justice Bulletin, NCJ 173420). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Mata, J. (1997). Overrepresentation of Hispanic/Latino youth. Washington, D.C.: Coalition for Juvenile Offenders.
Kakar, S. (2006). Understanding the causes of disproportionate minority contact: Results of focus group discussions. Journal of Criminal Justice, 34, 369-381.
Winters, O., Dean, C., Hirschel, D., & Brame, B. (1996). Developing a model program response to the problem of overrepresentation of minorities in the juvenle justice system of the four states. Charlotte: University of North Carolina.
Snyder, H.N., & Sickmund, M. (1999). Minorities in the juvenile justice system. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Hsia, H.M., Bridges, G.S., & McHale, R. (2004). Disproportionate minority confinement 2002 update. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Cahn,E. (2006). How the juvenile justice system reduces life options for minority youth. Washington, D.D.: The Joint Center Health Policy Institute.
Kempf-Leonard, K. (2007). Minority youths and juvenile justice: Disproportionate minority contact after nearly 20 years of reform efforts. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 5, 71-87.
The relative rate index method is a calculation method, chosen by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, to identify where disproportionate minority contact may exist in the juvenile justice system. The relative rate index (RRI) represents the volume of minority juveniles relative to the volume of majority juveniles (adjusted by population) at stages in the juvenile justice system. The RRI derives from the conceptual formula pictured below. The "majority rate" is designated as the rate of criminal justice involvement for those who are identified as White (not Hispanic or Latino). It should be noted that the calculation is problematic where those who are White are not the majority in the reference population.
DMC (disproportionate minority contact) and the RRI (relative rate index) calculation are described in the sections above. The information provided on DMC in Colorado focuses on juveniles in the criminal justice system because race/ethnicity data are not reliably collected for adults.
The following data were drawn from Crime and Justice in Colorado: 2008-2010 created by the Office of Research and Statistics at the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice. Although some national data is provided in the report, the information shown here is specific to Colorado.
What is the racial breakdown of:Adults arrested in Colorado? Criminal case convictions? Placements in closed criminal cases? Adults terminated from community corrections?
Probation (C.R.S. § 18-1.3-201, et seq.)
Offenders are eligible for probation with the following exceptions: (1) those convicted of a class 1 felony or class 2 petty offense; (2) those who have been convicted of two prior felonies in Colorado or any other state; and (3) those convicted of a class 1, 2 or 3 felony within the last ten years in Colorado or any other state. Eligibility restrictions may be waived by the sentencing court upon the recommendation of the DA. In considering whether to grant probation, the court may determine that prison is a more appropriate placement for the following reasons: (1) there is an undue risk that the defendant will commit another crime while on probation; (2) the defendant is in need of correctional treatment; (3) a sentence to probation will unduly depreciate the seriousness of the defendant's crime or undermine respect for law; (4) past criminal record indicates that probation would fail to accomplish its intended purpose; or (5) the crime and the surrounding factors do not justify probation.Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP) (C.R.S. § 18-1.3-208 (4))
The court may sentence an offender who is otherwise eligible for probation and who would otherwise be sentenced to the DOC to ISP if the court determines that the offender is not a threat to society. Offenders on ISP receive the highest level of supervision provided to probationers including highly restricted activities, daily contact between the offender and the probation officer, monitored curfew, home visitation, employment visitation and monitoring, and drug and alcohol screening.County Jail ( C.R.S. § 18-1.3-501)
Offenders convicted of a misdemeanor offense are punishable by fine or imprisonment. A term of imprisonment for a misdemeanor is not served in a state correctional facility unless the sentence is served concurrently with a term of conviction for a felony. The court may also sentence an offender to a term of jail and probation (C.R.S. § 18-1.3-202to a term of jail and work release (C.R.S. § 18-1.3-207), or to a term of jail and a fine (C.R.S. § 18-1.3-505).Community Corrections: Diversion (C.R.S. § 18-1.3-301)
Any district court judge may refer an offender convicted of a felony to a community corrections program unless the offender is required to be sentenced as a violent offender. The court may also refer an offender to community corrections as a condition of probation. Any offender sentenced by the court to community corrections must be approved by the local community corrections board for acceptance into the program.Prison (C.R.S. § 18-1.3-401, et seq.)
Persons convicted of felony offenses are subject to a penalty of imprisonment for a length of time that is specified in statute corresponding to the felony class for which the offender was convicted.
Offenders can be referred to community corrections by the sentencing judge or by officials at the Department of Corrections (DOC). A placement by the court in community corrections is considered a diversion from prison, and individuals in these cases are called “diversion clients.” The placement by the DOC in community corrections serves as a method of transitioning prisoners back into the community, and these individuals are referred to as “transition clients.”
What is the racial breakdown of:Juvenile arrests in Colorado? Juvenile diversion participants? Juvenile delinquency petitions disposed? Criminal cases filed statewide on defendants under 18 years old at the time of the offense (i.e., direct file cases)? Juvenile detention participants? Juvenile commitment participants? Juvenile parole participants?
Source: Division of Youth Corrections. (2011). Fiscal year 2009-2010 management reference manual. Denver, CO: Colorado Department of Human Services.
Available at https://cdpsdocs.state.co.us/ccjj/Resources/DMC/CDHS_MRM0910_FINAL.pdf
The Sentencing Project
Racial Disparities in Youth Commitments and Arrests
"This report uses information from three community studies of delinquency to examine disproportionate minority contact (DMC) and factors that might affect DMC at the police contact/court referral level."https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/grants/219743.pdf
See additional resources on the OJJDP Causes and Correlates of Delinquency Program:http://www.ojjdp.gov/programs/ProgSummary.asp?pi=19
An online community "...[s]haring knowledge and accelerating progress in the reduction of racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system."http://www.modelsforchange.net/about/Action-networks/Disproportionate-minority-contact.html
This online community is located at the website:
Models for Change: Systems Reform in Juvenile Justicehttp://www.modelsforchange.net/
Managed by the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) and funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, DiscoverCorrections.com is dedicated to promoting corrections careers. The Web site enables agencies to reach a local and national audience of informed, interested and qualified candidates; post jobs to a job board; search resumes of registered job seekers; and present candidates with detailed information about the agency. It is also a valuable career tool for students or experienced professionals who are interested in working in corrections. The site is a partnership between APPA, the American Correctional Association, American Jail Association, and Center for Innovative Public Policies.
"At Criminal Justice USA we recognize that while launching a career in criminal justice may start with a dream becoming a successful criminal justice professional requires much more than just a dream. Our mission as Criminal Justice USA is to help aspiring criminal justice students and professionals to find the information and resources required to prepare for and ultimately obtain the criminal justice career of your dreams.
"CriminalJusticeUSA.com is a complete free, non-commercial information site that provides relevant and accurate information on criminal justice careers and criminal justice training. So why put off your dreams any longer? Let CriminalJusticeUSA.com put you in drivers seat!"
(See also, PublicServiceCareers.org)
"The National Association for Legal Career Professionals is a nonprofit educational association established to meet the needs of all participants in the legal employment process (career planning, recruitment and hiring, and professional development of law students and lawyers) for information, coordination and standards. NALP is dedicated to continuously improving career counseling and planning, recruitment and retention, and the professional development of law students, lawyers, and its members."
This site provides information on job opportunities as well as other useful information.
(See also, How to Become a Lawyer)