The study (subscription required) drew its data from the federal government's National Longitudinal Survey of Youth conducted between 1997 and 2008. The researchers found that by age 18, 30% of black males report having been arrested, compared with 26% of Hispanic males and 22% of white males.
By age 23, 49% of black males, 44% of Hispanic males and 38% of white males report having been arrested.
These stark racial differences were far more muted among women; by age 18, 12% of white women, 11.8% of Hispanic women and 11.9% of black women report one or more arrests. By age 23, reported arrest rates were 20% for white women, 18% for Hispanic women, and 16% for black women.
Robert Brame, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina and the lead author on the study, noted the disruptive impact of arrests can make the lives of young people.
"Criminal records that show up in searches can impede employment, reduce access to housing, thwart admission to and financing for higher education and affect civic and volunteer activities such as voting or adoption. They also can damage personal and family relationships," Brame said in a press release.
"A problem is that many males – especially black males – are navigating the transition from youth to adulthood with the baggage and difficulties from contact with the criminal justice system."
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