There is trouble, big trouble, in River City, folks. It turns out nearly 50 percent of black men, 44 percent of Hispanic men, and 40 percent of white men have been arrested at least once by age 23, according to a new study published in Crime and Delinquency. That's a lot of law enforcement!
What's going on? The fact that this nation arrests close to a quarter of our population at least one time on a non-traffic-related crime should cause some alarm. No other western Nation has a similar track record.
Shawn Bushway, a criminologist at University of Albany, NY, said, " . . . treating [those young people who have been arrested] as if they're hardened criminals is a serious mistake."
WOMEN IN PRISON
Women fared a little bit better in the study: by age 23, 20 percent of black women, 18 percent of white women, and 16 percent of Hispanic women are arrested at least once.
Times have changed since 1967. Then, statistics showed that 22 percent of all people ages 23 and under were arrested at least once. The new study has revealed that 30 percent have been arrested by age 23.
What accounts for the jump? Are we cracking down harder on young people including juveniles? If so, is that a good idea, really? Or is rehabilitation a better approach.
When people are arrested at a young age, they can be traumatized, sometimes with disastrous results. For example, Kai Smith, 44, who leads a New York gang diversion group, was arrested for the first time around age 12, for jumping a subway turnstile. He later served 16 years in state prison for possession of drugs. Said Kai, "It's really damaging... putting handcuffs on a child at 12, 13, or 14 years old, he said. ...these acts have ripple effects that can be catastrophic."
CONTACT OUR NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
If you or your juvenile son or daughter has been arrested, we are here to protect your rights at every stage of a criminal case. Please contact the Law Office of Mallon and Tranger at any of our Ocean County or Monmouth County offices. Our lawyers can be reached by phone at 732-702-0333 or by filling out the intake form.