It's as American as Apple Pie! Aww Yeah!!
From The New York Times: Nearly a Third of Americans are Arrested by Age 23, Study Says
The study, the first of its kind conducted since the 1960s, surveyed a national sample of young people over time, and found that approximately 30% of them had reported being arrested for something other than a traffic violation by the time they hit the age of 23. As a quick aside, I'm right there with ya kids. America. Fuck Yeah.
As the NYT article reports, this figure is much larger than the result found in the 1965 study, which reported an arrest rate of 22% among the same age group. The more recent study was conducted by performing annual interviews on a sample group of 7,335 youths, all between the age of 12-16 when they joined the study in 1996. Researchers found that there was a sharp spike in arrests as kids neared adulthood, 18-20, and then quickly leveled off in the early 20s. The study goes on to provide commentary on different factors that could effect the adolescent's likelihood of being able to move past this mark of criminality, or conversely become entrenched in the mire of the criminal justice system.
Seems to me a little silly that a private study needed to be conducted to obtain this information. While I understand that the identity of minors is protected in regards to arrest records, that doesn't mean that a report couldn't be issued directly from law enforcement with the pertinent information represented while at the same time ensuring that personal information is redacted. And why the hell is this the first study of its kind to be performed in nearly 50 years? Considering what an on-going joke it has been in my youth to sit back and listen to one's elders bitch and moan about how the youth of today have been becoming progressively more delinquent, I would imagine there would be some fundamentalist with some extra pocket money who would be interested in obtaining these figures on a more regular basis.
Unfortunately, the NYT article does not go into any sort of detail regarding what sort of infractions these youths had committed that resulted in their arrest, beyond noting that each crime was above the level of a traffic violation (which, short of a DUI, I'm pretty sure they don't arrest you for anyway). No mention of what percentage of these youths were apprehended on charges of violent behavior, theft, or common drug possession. I'd be willing to place a sizable bet however that the overwhelming majority of these reported arrests were for non-violent drug offenders. I sure know that was the case in my town - and whether you'd like to admit it or not, I bet it's the same for your small home town, too.
Three Monkeys Say: Let's get those numbers up, kids! We believe in you!!