A new study released today by the journal Crime & Delinquencyhas found that 49 percent of African-American are arrested by the time they are just 23 years old.
White men don’t fare much better. Forty percent of white males are arrested by the time they are 23.
“A problem is that many males – especially black males – are navigating the transition from youth to adulthood with the baggage and difficulties from contact with the criminal justice system,” says Robert Brame, a criminology professor at the University of South Carolina and lead author of the study.
“Criminal records that show up in searches can impede employment, reduce access to housing, thwart admission to and financing for higher education and affect civic and volunteer activities such as voting or adoption. They also can damage personal and family relationships,” added Brame.
Among the other key findings of the study:
- By age 18, 30 percent of black males, 26 percent of Hispanic males and 22 percent of white males have been arrested.
- By age 23, 49 percent of black males, 44 percent of Hispanic males and 38 percent of white males have been arrested.
- While the prevalence of arrest increased for females from age 18 to 23, the variation between races was slight. At age 18, arrest rates were 12 percent for white females and 11.8 percent and 11.9 percent for Hispanic and black females, respectively. By age 23, arrest rates were 20 percent for white females and 18 percent and 16 percent for Hispanic and black females, respectively.
This study is a follow-up on a similar research project conducted in 2012 for the journal Pediatrics, however this one used a larger sample size of the population. It utilized national survey data from 1997 to 2008 of teenagers and young adults. It includes minor crimes like truancy and more serious offenses such as violent crimes. Traffic violations, however, were excluded.
“As a society, we often worry a great deal about the effects of children watching television, eating junkfood, playing sports and having access to good schools,” Brame says. “Experiencing formal contact with the criminal justice system could also have powerful effects on behavior and impose substantial constraints on opportunities for America’s youth.”