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Charlottesville and Albemarle Release Report on Disproportionate Minority Contact

Post Date:01/28/2020 5:00 PM
City County Seals
Media Contacts
Brian Wheeler
Director of Communications
City of Charlottesville


Emily Kilroy
Director of Communications & Public Engagement
County of Albemarle
434-296-5841 |
January 28, 2020

Charlottesville and Albemarle Release Report on Disproportionate Minority Contact

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - The City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle have completed the first phase of a unique study of disproportionate minority contact in the local adult criminal justice system. MGT Consulting Group will present its findings to Charlottesville City Council at its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, February 3, 2020. The report includes preliminary data conclusions, suggestions for areas of improvement in local data collection along with recommendations for service system improvement.

Over the past three years and using data from 2014-2016, a 14-member Adult Disproportionate Minority Contact Research and Planning Committee has worked with the MGT Consulting Group to:

  • Determine extent of racial disproportionality in the local criminal justice system.
  • Identify racial disproportionality and disparities.
  • Analyze the reasons for any disproportionality or disparity.
  • Map resources and gaps.
  • Recommend policy and best practices to address disproportionality and disparity.
  • Work with the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County to develop a strategic plan to implement recommendations.

“The City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County are the first localities in the United States to undertake a study of disproportionality and disparity in the adult criminal justice system,” said Kaki Dimock, Director of the Charlottesville Department of Human Services. “This study has been endorsed and supported by police, prosecutors, criminal justice organizations, the jail, and local governments.”

The findings identify both areas for improvement and indications of positive outcomes. The study provides evidence that racial disparities in criminal justice outcomes particularly for African American males are present at various points along the Charlottesville/Albemarle criminal justice continuum.

The adult criminal justice system is extraordinarily complex. Most of the data used in the report came from three systems that contained individually identifiable information that could be tracked across decision points: Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail, Offender Aid and Restoration pre-trial services, and the local Circuit and General District Courts. Examination of data from other parts of the adult criminal justice system such as police-suspect interactions will be addressed in future phases of research.

“We appreciate the work of the team in analyzing this dataset and presenting recommendations to address the findings,” said Siri Russell, Director of Albemarle’s Office of Equity & Inclusion. “That so many of the recommendations capture efforts already underway in the City and the County speaks to our renewed commitment to equitable outcomes for our community.”

Recent policy changes include increased emphasis on reentry, expansion of the availability of police data, and the adoption of alternatives to incarceration. Where disparities have been found, criminal justice partners in Charlottesville-Albemarle have begun to implement solutions and are poised to make further reforms.

Data Findings

In considering the findings, it is important to understand the definitions of disproportionality and disparity. Racial disproportionality refers to one race being over- or under-represented compared to the racial makeup of the whole community. Racial disparity occurs when individuals in similar situations receive different outcomes based on race.

  • The research found racial disproportionality at all points in the adult criminal justice system
  • The research did not find racial disparity at two critical points in the adult criminal justice system: the duration of actual time served for an offense and the duration of the sentence imposed (males only)
  • The research did find racial disparity at five other points in the adult criminal justice system: seriousness of charges brought, number of companion charges brought, bail-bond/release decisions, length of stay awaiting trial, and guilty outcomes at trial.

MGT offers nine recommendations, with multiple components. A number of these components have already been implemented in Charlottesville/Albemarle.

The recommendations are:

  1. Increase and support meaningful re-entry programs (5 strategies underway).
  2. Increase transparency of City and County police departments (3 strategies underway).
  3. Develop, encourage, and support special initiative programs (5 strategies underway).
  4. Increase diversity in law enforcement (2 strategies underway).
  5. Adopt programs that are alternatives to incarceration (3 strategies underway).
  6. Provide additional training opportunities for law enforcement and other actors in the criminal justice system (4 strategies underway).
  7. Review best practices from other communities addressing similar issues.
  8. Increase access to data and increase data collection at each decision point in the criminal justice map.
  9. Conduct additional research and build upon the findings and recommendations of this study.
The complete report is available on the City’s website at

Origins and funding of the MGT study

The City of Charlottesville has a longstanding interest in understanding the extent and causes of disproportionality and disparity in the adult criminal justice system. In 2015, the City Council received a comprehensive report on disproportionality in the juvenile justice system. Council and the City Manager asked staff to look for a way to conduct a similar study for the adult system. In early 2018, The Department of Human Services was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services to launch a study of disproportionate minority contact in the adult criminal justice system in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Council approved an additional $55,400 appropriation from the Department of Human Services Fund Balance in support of the study in July 2019. The City contracted with MGT Consulting Group to conduct the first phase of the study.

Persons with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations by contacting or (434) 970-3182.
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