The federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act requires states to assess the extent to which minority youth are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system - and, if minority youth are overrepresented, to implement activities to impact the issue. Minority youth comprise approximately 15 percent of all of Iowa's youth, while minority youth comprise 45 percent of the youth in Iowa's juvenile detention facilities. Overrepresentation exists at other juvenile court decision points as well. Iowa's Juvenile Justice Advisory Council has charged a state Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Committee to provide oversight for Iowa’s DMC effort. Iowa’s Department of Human Rights, Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning (CJJP) administers Iowa’s DMC effort. Iowa’s major DMC activities include: the provision of DMC related technical assistance to local jurisdictions in Black Hawk, Johnson, Polk and Woodbury Counties; review of policy and training through a School-to-Court: Local Strategies Instrument: collection and analysis of data (school incidents, suspension and expulsion, arrest, and Juvenile Court services referrals); and local provision of a juvenile Detention Screening Tool.
Report of the Governor's Youth Race and Detention Task Force
In May 2007, the first meeting of the Governor’s Youth Race and Detention Task Force (YRDTF) was held. Created by Governor Chester J. Culver, the group’s goal has been to assist in reducing the overrepresentation of minority youth in juvenile detention. The Task Force met eight times and
received testimony from a wide variety of relevant parties. Membership of the group included a broad representation from state government, law enforcement, prosecution, defense, Human Services, Corrections, the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Education, and community members.
The report products are the culmination of the Task Force’s responsibilities as set out in Executive Order 5, dated October 30, 2007. A copy of the Full Report, Findings (without figures), Recommendations, and a One Page document (front/back) are available below. Report copies were provided to Governor Culver in a ceremony held on May 21, 2009.
YRDTF Full Report
YRDTF One Pager
YRDTF Executive Order 5