A study on the rates of arrest among young, American males was recently published in the journal Crime & Delinquency. Though our readers may find the results of the study to be truly shocking, a criminology professor at the University of South Carolina and one of the study’s co-authors recently explained to USA Today that, “Among criminologists, I don’t think they’re that surprised or alarmed by the findings. The alarm and concern is among people not as familiar with the patterns.”
This explanation indicates that those familiar with U.S. incarceration rates are already aware that young, American males are arrested at frustratingly high rates. According to the study, 40 percent of white males and nearly 50 percent of all black males in the U.S. are arrested one or more times for non-traffic-related offenses before reaching the age of 23.
We have written frequently about the fact that the U.S. locks up far too many individuals who have committed low-level drug crimes. However, the idea that nearly half of all American men are arrested on non-traffic-related charges before turning 23-years-old is baffling.
This study’s conclusions will hopefully inform policy in all aspects of society moving forward. For example, understanding that the U.S. arrests so many young men should help to positively reform employers’ approaches to hiring individuals with an arrest record. This kind of understanding should also help to inform the situations in which law enforcement officers should and should not find it reasonable to arrest individuals generally and to arrest young men in particular.
Source: USA Today, “Study: Nearly half of black men arrested by age 23,” Jake Pearson, Jan. 20, 2014