How to Use the Interface
This interactive interface will allow you to select from a large number of options the type of data you want to view. Simply select one choice from each drop-down menu under ‘Explore the Data,’ and the graph will automatically display that data.
Please note that:
There are nine graph types that can be selected. Each displays a different facet of the data. For information on why you might want to use a certain type of data, please see ‘Questions about the Data’ below.
Excluding Races from Graphs
There are two common reasons to use this feature: (1) to produce a graph that is focusing on a specific issue (e.g., comparing statistics for black and white juveniles) or (2) to get a clearer visual representation of the differences among smaller groups (by removing the largest subgroup, which will make the Y-axis cover a smaller range of values).
There are two methods for excluding a racial group from a graph. You can exclude a race by:
In addition to the drop-down menu for selecting a county to display its data, you can simply click on a county in the map to display that county’s data.
There are several options for exporting the currently displayed graph. At the bottom left (below ‘Explore the Data’ and the data selection options), you can click ‘Export This Chart As Image.’
At the top right, there are two icons. The “” icon lets you print the graph. The “” icon allows you to choose to export the image as a .PNG, .JPEG, .PDF, or .SVG file.
If you hold the mouse over an individual piece of data in a graph (e.g., a single bar in a Total Count Graph or Total Rate Graph or a year’s point for a single race in a Year Comparison [by count] graph) a box will appear displaying the exact value of that piece of data.
The label on the Y-axis changes as you switch from one graph type to another. The height of the axis (e.g., whether the highest part of the graph represents 10 or 1,000) automatically changes depending on the data that are being displayed. The labels to the left of the graph communicate those changes. Additionally, what the Y-axis is measuring changes depending on the graph type: for a Rate Graph of Arrests, the Y-axis measures the number of arrests per 1,000 in the population; for a Rate Graph of Confinement, the Y-axis measures the number of juveniles confined per 100 found delinquent; for a Total Count Graph, the Y-axis measures the raw number of juveniles.
Questions about the Data
What is Disproportionate Minority Contact?
Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) refers to the fact that minority juveniles come into contact with the juvenile justice system at different rates than white juveniles. The movement of minority juveniles through the justice system is also disproportionate. Arrested minority juveniles are often referred to court at a higher rate than arrested white juveniles. Of juveniles referred to juvenile court, charges are typically filed against minorities at a higher rate than whites. For more information on DMC, see the county-by-county matrices at LINK (http://michigancommitteeonjuvenilejustice.com/michigan-data/socio-demographic-data.html).
Why use a count (e.g., ‘number of arrests’)?
A simple tally of the number of occurrences (of arrest, confinement, or whatever specific point is under examination) is the most basic unit of analysis. It is especially useful for comparing magnitude—e.g., in 2008, eight juveniles were arrested in Alcona County and 2,465 in Oakland County. That large difference in scale creates important differences in juvenile justice and in appropriate policy responses in the two jurisdictions.
Why use a rate?
Rates can allow for easy comparison (e.g., of races within a county or between counties). Knowing only that 1,388 white juveniles and 925 black juveniles were arrested in Kent County in 2008 is less helpful than also knowing that the arrest rate for white juveniles was 31 per 1,000, while the arrest rate for black juveniles was 118 per 1,000—a much higher arrest rate, even though the total number of arrests was lower.
Why use a multiyear comparison?
Looking at multiyear data can illustrate trends. For example, if the rates at which minorities experience contact with the juvenile justice system are growing more similar to the rates for whites, that probably indicates more equal treatment by the juvenile justice system. If the rates for one racial group increase substantially year to year and the others do not, that could be indicative of unequal treatment of that group.
Why compare counties?
Comparing one county to another can provide valuable insights. It can be useful to compare similar counties (e.g., two high-population urban counties) to assess whether there are differences in the arrest numbers, arrest rates, or in how disproportionate the numbers are. It can also be useful to compare counties with significant differences. It is often true, for example, that the highest arrest rates are in rural low-population counties that have low overall arrest numbers. County comparison can help identify such patterns in the data and can simply provide context for one county’s data.
What are the ‘Decision-Making Points’ and why are they important?
The Decision-Making Points are the various points of contact with the juvenile justice system. At each point, a decision is made whether to advance the youth to a greater level within the system. The points are:
They are important not only because they are a primary piece of data about the juvenile justice system, but also because they illustrate clearly the different ways in which minorities and whites experience the juvenile justice system. The rates at which minorities move from each decision point to the next are disproportionate when compared to the rates for whites. Minority juveniles are more likely to stay in the system longer, more likely to be placed in secure detention, and more likely to face adult charges than white juveniles.
What is Relative Rate?
A relative rate compares the rate for a minority group to the rate of the majority. For example, if the arrest rate for Hispanic juveniles in County A is 50 arrests per 1,000 Hispanic juveniles and the arrest rate for white juveniles is 25 per 1,000 white juveniles, then the relative rate is 2: Hispanic juveniles in County A are being arrested at twice the rate of white juveniles.
Why look at Relative Rate data?
Relative rates measure how disproportionate a system is. If minority juveniles are arrested (or detained, referred to court, waived to adult court, etc.) at triple the rate of white juveniles, that indicates greater disproportionality than if they are arrested at double the rate of white juveniles. Relative rate data further provide standardization to the justice system in the area—the Relative Rate for minority juveniles in Kent County is based on the experience of white juveniles in Kent County’s justice system; the Relative Rate for minorities in Alcona County is based on the experience of white juveniles in Alcona County’s justice system, and so forth. It is thus the best single measurement of the amount of disproportionate minority contact in a jurisdiction.
What does ‘Data Not Available’ mean?
Some counties chose not to provide their DMC data. If you select a DMC display of one of those counties, you will see a ‘Data Not Available’ message.