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Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Community-Based Arrest and Referral Assessment

Principal Investigator (PI) / Project Lead:


Funding Organization:

State of Utah, Utah Board of Juvenile Justice

Award Number:


Project Period:

10/1/2018 – 9/30/2019

Total Funding:


Project Status:



Project Description:

Within the area of criminal justice, few issues have generated as much interest and controversy as the relationship between race and ethnicity and crime. Criminal justice decision makers have become concerned with the racial/ethnic disparities that exist in the juvenile justice system and are actively working to understand the issue of disproportionate minority contact (DMC) and to develop efforts to reduce it. Trends in DMC are quantitated by the relative rate index (RRI). This study sought to better understand the longitudinal trends in DMC RRIs in specific jurisdictions across Utah. RRIs compare the rate of contact for White youth to minority youth, after adjusting for the population prevalence of both groups. Seeking to better understand the issue in Utah, the study involved: 1) a review of the current state of the literature; 2) an examination of RRI trends at the arrest and referral points of contact; 3) surveys with law enforcement to explore the meaning of the trends; and 4) interviews with law enforcement and court personnel.



Despite collecting and reporting Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) relative rate index (RRI) information since 2005 in Utah, little is actually known about the meaning of changes in the RRIs over time. The Utah Criminal Justice Center (UCJC) will conduct a data-driven, mixed methods assessment of disproportionality in the RRIs for the following Utah law enforcement agencies (LEAs):

  •     Salt Lake City Police Department
  •     Unified Police Department
  •     West Valley City Police Department
  •     Ogden City Police Department
  •     Logan City Police Department
  •     St. George Police Department

The data-driven approach will involve analyzing arrest and referral data for each agency and examining changes in RRIs over time in order to identify notable, significant periods of success or failure in reducing RRIs. Surveys will be distributed widely among law enforcement, juvenile court personnel, juvenile probation, and other community stakeholders to identify the current attitudes and practices in each jurisdiction. Semi-structured interviews will also be conducted with a sample of stakeholders to extract more detail from the information gleaned from surveys and to identify awareness of existing policies and practices that might contribute to the observed RRI trends. After analyzing results from arrest and referral data, surveys, and interviews, a final report will synthesize this information as well as provide a literature review of current best practices and recommendations.


For more information, contact Kort Prince


Updated as of September 9, 2021

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Last Updated: 9/9/21