This is pretty shocking: according to a cross-university study published in Crime & Delinquency Monday, almost half of American men have been arrested by age 23. The analysis, which studied national data between 1997 to 2008, found that 49 percent of black men had been arrested by age 23. As for white men, 38 percent were arrested by the same age.
Interestingly, though black males were more likely to have been arrested than whites, the same disparity didn't hold for women. Young white women were actually more likely to be arrested than their black counterparts: by 23, one-fifth of white women had been arrested, compared to 16 percent of black women.
The reasons behind the arrests are of course broad — arrests can be for anything from truancy to violent offenses. The lead author, Robert Brame, noted that the main finding of the study was the role race plays in the likelihood of arrest; specifically the high arrest rate for black males. "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," Brame said in a press release.
The study builds on previous research conducted by the same team last year, which found that one in three people across America had been arrested by 23. Even by age 18, around a quarter of young men — 30 percent of black men, 22 percent of whites — have been arrested.
The age at which minors can be considered legal adults ranges from state to state, and can be as young as 16. And once you've got a criminal record, it can impede future opportunities, as Brame noted.
"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."