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Spotlight on State and Local DMC Efforts

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State outline of Utah

RRI Overview

DMC Efforts

DMC Initiatives

Spotlight on State and Local DMC Efforts: Utah

RRI Overview

Utah – Statewide Data (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013)

Data Point White Black or African-American Hispanic or Latino Asian Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander American Indian or Alaska Native Other/ Mixed All Minorities
Arrests 1.00 3.85 1.58 1.07 ** 1.58 * 1.53
Referral^ 1.00 4.28 2.20 0.73 1.87 2.98 * 2.23
Diversion 1.00 0.77 0.86 1.19 0.85 0.50 * 0.83
Detention 1.00 1.06 1.02 0.57 0.76 1.65 * 1.04
Petitioned / Charge Filing 1.00 1.11 1.07 0.91 1.07 1.24 * 1.08
1.00 0.98 0.99 0.99 1.01 1.04 * 0.99
Probation Placement 1.00 0.87 1.06 0.78 0.80 0.72 * 0.99
Confinement 1.00 1.28 2.23 ** ** 1.76 * 1.94
Transfer to Adult Court ** ** ** ** ** ** * **
Statistically significant results Bold Font
Results that are not statistically significant Regular Font
Group is less than 1% of youth population *
Insufficient number of cases for analysis **
Missing data for some element of calculation ---
Referral TTI calculation is based on population at risk ^

DMC Efforts

Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice logo The Utah DMC Assessment
The Relative Rate Index (RRI) has been the driving force for the Utah Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Subcommittee of the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice (Utah's State Advisory Group) in making decisions that address DMC. The DMC Subcommittee is operated under the Utah Criminal and Juvenile Justice Commission, Governor's Office. In 2008, Utah developed a strategy to address DMC by using OJJDP's DMC Reduction Model. Using this model, the Subcommittee decided to focus on diversion as a starting point to first demonstrate that the RRI can change and, second, to build political capital to address other DMC matters.

The collaborative efforts of the Utah Administrative Office of the Courts, the Division of Juvenile Justice Services, and local jurisdictions, resulted in dramatic improvement in the diversion RRI for the Hispanic population. One of the jurisdictions, Utah County, was also featured as one of nine cases included in a OJJDP's soon to be released DMC Field Initiated Research and Evaluation (FIRE) study. The FIRE study showed a reduction in DMC at referrals to court for Hispanic youth.

With the success of the diversion strategy, in 2010 the DMC Subcommittee began addressing arrest and referral points of contact. According to the data, arrest and referral show the most disproportionality in both magnitude and volume of activities.

Addressing DMC
Using OJJDP's DMC Reduction Model, Utah has been addressing DMC in a multi-facetted approach. Utah collects data annually and consistently from three sources: Utah State Office of Education – school enrollment (population at risk data), Bureau of Criminal Identification (juvenile arrest data), and Court Agencies' Record Exchange database (referral to/transfer to adult court data). Additionally, data are analyzed annually with the stakeholders for consistency and to identify anomalies for quality improvement. Updates are provided annually to stakeholders, including juvenile court officials, local leaders, and schools administrators. Utah raises awareness for community leaders and the juvenile justice professionals and requests feedback to address DMC. Juvenile justice organizations are encouraged to use the Community Relations curriculum for the Utah Peace Officers Standards and Training. Local community partners who are implementing strategies to reduce DMC are recognized for their efforts.

DMC Initiatives

State Response
Utah participated in multiple studies examining DMC data and contributing factors. In 2010, Utah began an initiative to address DMC at the arrest and referral points of contact using a similar strategy as diversion. It included collaboration with stakeholders and making decisions based on data. Through this process, the Subcommittee identified law enforcement agencies (LEAs) with a high volume of minority arrests to participate in the DMC Arrest and Referral Assessment. The assessment was conducted by the University of Utah Criminal Justice Center as part of collaboration with local partners.

In 2012, the Arrest and Referral Assessment Study was completed with participation of seven LEAs in three jurisdictions. Utah received OJJDP's Community and Strategic Planning (CASP) award in 2011 and 2013, which funded the majority of the study, and as part of the grant requirements, Utah formed three local working groups. The study found there was disparity in minority arrests and referrals at the school level. It showed there were high rates of arrest and referral at schools with high minority student attendance, even if the school district and law enforcement agencies were in the same jurisdiction. After presenting the study results to local stakeholders, local working groups were formed to begin addressing the issue. Since then, the local working groups have been the driving force in developing the next steps. The study results prompted the local working groups to further explore the disciplinary policies the schools and law enforcement agencies employ, hence the evidence-based, best practices, and promising programs study described below.

In 2011, Utah completed the Diversion Assessment Study to determine possible contributing factors that cause low diversion for minority youth. The assessment identified that when all other factors were equal, minority youth received fewer second-diversion opportunities than white youth. Because of this, the court initiated an internal review of its diversion policy and revised its procedures and approaches to address the diversion disparity. As result, Hispanic youth in Utah County showed improvement in the diversion RRI (from 0.59 in 2007 to 0.91 in 2010). The FY 2013 data show Hispanic diversion in Utah County at 0.87. Also, the data show that Hispanic youth diversion in Weber County reached parity in FY 2011 and FY 2013.

In 2014, Utah completed a Study on Evidence-Based, Best Practices, and Promising Programs that showed reduction of DMC at arrest and referral to Juvenile Court at the school level. The study was conducted by the Institute for Innovative Justice and funded by the 2013 CASP Grant. The researchers made the following recommendations:

  1. Develop a written agreement between police departments and school districts;
  2. Create a School Resource Officer (SRO) job description and use it as criteria for job performance evaluations;
  3. Include school administrators in the SRO selection process;
  4. Combine training for SROs and school administrators;
  5. Seek alternative programs in the juvenile justice system (peer courts, mental health and substance abuse interventions, cognitive behavioral approaches, etc.);
  6. Identify schools as pilot sites to implement the recommendations;
  7. Form a sub-group to develop a curriculum and guidelines to institutionalize the recommendations for SROs and school officials.

Currently, the local working groups are proceeding to implement these recommendations with the goal of reducing arrests and referrals at the school level with the intent to reduce DMC. Activities will include performance measures to document the process. Utah plans to replicate the process in other jurisdictions if the pilots prove successful.


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