A new study from the RAND Corporation shows that young adults under the age of 26 are far more likely to be arrested than people in older generations. These alarming arrest rates are accompanied by lower rates of employment, lower income and less of a chance of being married. These findings come from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a long-running survey that gathers information from more than 5,000 families and 35,000 individuals in Texas and other states.
Arrest and conviction rates rose significantly for young people in all ethnic groups as well as for both men and women. Only 1 in 100 women over the age of 66 had been arrested before the age of 26, but 1 in 7 women age 26 to 35 were arrested before turning 26. While black men are still more likely to be arrested than white men of the same age group, the rates have been converging over time.
Income and education level were strongly associated with arrest rates for young people. About 60 percent of men without a high school diploma were arrested before the age of 26. Only 23 percent of men in the same age group who had college degrees were arrested. A single arrest showed about a $6,000 decrease in average income, and multiple arrests showed a $13,000 decrease in earnings.
Individuals of all ages accused of committing misdemeanors and felonies have the right to seek counsel from an attorney. The consequences of criminal conviction can be very severe, so it’s the job of a criminal defense lawyer to make sure that their client’s rights are upheld during every step of the legal process. A lawyer may help their client decide whether it’s in their best interests to make a plea agreement, go to trial or explore other options.