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More Than 30 Percent of Americans Arrested by Age 23

A new study by Pediatrics released Monday shows that nearly one in three is arrested by law enforcement officer by the age of 23. Arrest is a shared experience for more than 30 percent of Americans. A 44 year old study showed that only 22 percent of Americans had been under arrest by age 23 but this new study puts that number at 30.2 percent.

It's believed that part of the reason for the increase in the number of arrests is due to decades of "tough crime" policies. As the number of state and federal crimes grows, so too do the numbers of those arrested for crimes. According to USA Today, "youth may be arrested for drugs and domestic violence were unlikely offenses to attract police attention in the 1960s," professor of operations research at the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University said.

The study was conducted between 1997 and 2008 by asking children and young adults between 8 and 23 about their arrest history. While traffic citations were excluded, arrests for other minor crimes such as truancy, shoplifting and assault were included in the survey.

One criminologist mentioned in the USA Today article also said that the reason for the large increase is due to a less tolerant society. Many of the crimes that youth are arrested for today would not bother law enforcement in the 1960s and 1970s. The problem, however, is that an arrest record may make it more difficult to get a job, student loan or housing.

Source: USA Today, "Study: Nearly 1 in 3 will be arrested by age 23," Donna Leinwand Leger, 12/19/2011

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