Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Justice Policy

Disproportionate Minority Contact in Maine: DMC Assessment and Identification

Abstract: 

The majority of Maine's youth population is white, but the minority youth population has increased dramatically over the last few years, and is projected to continue growing. At the same time, the white youth population is trending downward. This report presents quantitative 3-year trend analysis (2005-2007) and initial findings from a qualitative assessment project which begin to describe Maine's challenges and opportunities for improving the juvenile justice system's ability and preparedness to handle these population changes. This report provides a baseline of rates of disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in Maine's juvenile justice system. It also provides information for practitioners and policymakers looking to inform their understanding and awareness of the treatment of minority youth within Maine's juvenile justice system. Many of Maine's more rural counties have small minority youth populations, which prevents statistically valid examination of DMC. The six most populous counties (Aroostook, Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Penobscot, and York) have sufficient minority population sizes to enable analysis of minority youth contact with the juvenile justice system, with some caveats.

Publication Type: 
Report
Publish Date: 
December 1, 2009
URL: 
http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/justiceresearch/Publications/Juvenile/Juvenile_DMC_AssessmentandIdentificationReport2009.pdf

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

2015 Disproportionate Contact: Youth of Color in Maine's Juvenile Justice System Report

A new report released by the Muskie School of Public Service reveals a racial bias towards minority youths in Maine's juvenile justice system.

"Disproportionate Contact: Youth of Color in Maine's Juvenile Justice System" examines racial disparities in the system and provides recommendations on how to move toward racial equity. Robyn Dumont, Erica King and George Shaler of the Muskie School's Justice Policy Program authored the mixed-method report.

Learn More

2015 Maine Crime Victimization Survey Report

Findings for the 2015 Maine Crime Victimization Report, released on December 1, 2015, were discussed at a press release forum at the Muskie School of Public Service. This report highlights findings from telephone interviews conducted with 843 randomly selected Mainers on whether they had been a victim of criminal or unwanted behavior (e.g. violent crime, property crime, threats of violence, identity crime, and stalking) in the past 12 months. 

After the presentation a distinguished panel responded to the findings and offered comments.

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