Another Study Confirms Racial Disparity in Arrest Rates

At this point Florida readers do not need another study to tell them what we already know – that minorities are more likely to be arrested than white individuals. Still, this persistent truth emerges time and time again from studies looking at various aspects of the criminal justice system.

A recent study analyzed arrest rates for young men, looking specifically at teen and early adulthood, up to age 23. Researchers found that while 38 percent of white men up to age 23 have experienced an arrest, the arrest rate is at 49 percent for African-American men. While experts agree that this confirms what we already know about the American criminal justice system, there were some other novel findings, such as the fact that women are arrested at a lower rate than men. In addition, race may not be as much of a factor in determining the probability that a woman will be arrested.

Next, researchers will look at how many of these arrests were followed by a conviction or another arrest for a different matter. Authors excluded minor traffic offenses but documented other types of police contact among participants. In general the arrests were not for serious offenses, but the author of the study says that the results are still concerning since the individuals were so young at the time they were arrested.

Being arrested as a juvenile can have lasting consequences for work or educational opportunities, particularly when it leads to a conviction. As a result, those who are accused of crimes as a juvenile should not take the accusations lightly even if they seem minor.

Source: The Independent Florida Alligator, “Crime study finds youth arrest statistics high,” Jenna Lyons, Jan. 8, 2014.