30% of Americans Arrested by Age 23

Up from 22% in the 1960s
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2011 6:29 AM CST
Updated Dec 19, 2011 7:24 AM CST
30% of Americans Arrested by Age 23
Almost a third of youths will be arrested by the time they're 23, a study finds.   (Shutterstock)

By the time they're 23, almost a third of Americans will have been arrested: These days, it's a "pretty common experience," says the author of a new study. The data marks a jump in arrests over the past 44 years; four decades ago, a study found that 22% of kids would be arrested by age 23—a shocking figure then, says a criminologist. Now that figure is 30.2%, partly thanks to arrests over domestic violence and drugs—both less likely to lead to arrest during the 1960s, USA Today reports.

"There's a lot more arresting going on now," the criminologist says. The latest study is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys of youths ages 8 to 23 from 1997 to 2008. Respondents were asked whether they'd been arrested or taken into custody over illegal or delinquent behavior, even if it didn't lead to criminal charges. Years ago, minor rule-breaking was often treated less formally than it is today, says another criminologist—and that troubles some experts, since such criminal records can "follow you forever," says one. (More arrest stories.)

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