Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program

Africana Studies

First Advisor

Craig McEwen

Second Advisor

Brian Purnell


This paper challenges the effectiveness of the federal Disproportionate Minority Contact mandate. It first traces the legislative history of the mandate, from the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Act of 1974, to the establishment of the Disproportionate Minority Confinement mandate of 1988, to the final shift to Disproportionate Minority Contact in 2002. It then describes and analyzes implementation of the mandate in the New England states, showing uneven data collection and limited compliance with the mandate. The next chapter explores factors outside the jurisdiction of the DMC mandate that create and perpetuate racial disparities in juvenile justice, including concentrated poverty, police tactics driven in part by federal initiatives, and school disciplinary policies. Ultimately, this paper reports that racial disparities in arrests of juveniles have increased significantly- not declined- during the life of the mandate. It then discusses the limits of federal legislation in remedying racial disparities in juvenile justice.