Disproportional Minority Contact (DMC) describes the unbalanced ethnic, racial, and linguistic representation in the Criminal Justice System. However, DMC is not limited to the Adult Criminal Justice System but the Juvenile Justice System. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) defines minority as any youth who are American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. There are some alarming statistics when researching Disproportional Minority Contact in the Juvenile Justice System. Today, Black youth are four times more likely to be incarcerated than white youth, American Indian youth are three times more likely to be incarcerated than white youth, and lastly, Hispanic or Latino youth are about 28% more likely to be incarcerated than white youth. While researching DMC in the Juvenile Justice System, two contrasting hypotheses have come to the forefront of this discussion: the Differential Involvement Hypothesis and the Differential Selection Hypothesis.
First, looking at the Differential Involvement Hypothesis, which describes minorities that are overrepresented in the juvenile criminal justice system because they commit more crime and are involved in the types of crime that lead to the involvement in the justice system. This hypothesis says that minorities have more significant risk factors associated with offending than their counterparts. These risk factors include parental incarceration, living in disadvantaged communities, and poverty. These risk factors are the ones that have the highest percentage of effects to confirm the hypothesis there are other factors that can affect a person when they are offending. However, the only way this hypothesis is supported is the self-reporting that occurs by those who take the offending/ victimization surveys.
The contrasting hypothesis, the Differential Selection Hypothesis, is described as minorities being more likely to be targeted (selected) based on the factors that go into the decision to arrest- offense history, seriousness, and the evidence. Then, the extralegal aspect of race leads to the decision to arrest. This hypothesis is based on socioeconomic status, and it is shown that areas of lower socioeconomic status will most likely have higher rates of crime. A theory that helps support this selection hypothesis is the ‘broken windows theory.’ This theory states that visible signs of disorder and crime will encourage others to commit disorder and misbehave. These areas affected by the broken windows theory have higher chances of being patrolled by police. Since these areas that are frequently patrolled by the police, they tend to have higher arrest rates because they are in an area that is lower in socioeconomic status and has signs of crime/ disorder.