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4 In 10 Americans Have Been Arrested By Age 23? Time To Question Authority, Not Kids.

by David Badash on December 20, 2011

in Civil Rights,Discrimination,News

Post image for 4 In 10 Americans Have Been Arrested By Age 23? Time To Question Authority, Not Kids.

A shocking new study finds that four in ten Americans — 41% — report they have been arrested by the time they reach 23 years of age. Those arrests don’t even include minor traffic violations. Additionally, 27% of Americans report having been arrested by the time they reach 18 years of age. The study was just published in the journal, Pediatrics, and titled, “Cumulative Prevalence of Arrest From Ages 8 to 23 in a National Sample.”

News outlets chose to report the story in different ways, with ABC News choosing to make the focus of the arrests those arrested, offering this report:

“Those are alarmingly high numbers,” said Dr. Eugene Beresin, a child psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School. “There are social, economic, educational and family risks associated with arrests. And we all have to be worried about that.”

Although an arrest doesn’t necessarily mean a child, teen or young adult is a criminal, previous research has connected run-ins with the law with other problems — drug addiction, physical or emotional abuse and poverty, to name a few.

Beresin said a high number of arrests could also indicate a high rate of untreated psychiatric disorders, another factor that has been linked to criminal activity. According to the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, a nonprofit group, between 50 to 75 percent of incarcerated young people have diagnosable mental health problems.

No major news outlet questioned why – as in, since when did we start putting our children in handcuffs for childhood transgressions, like fistfights, or kissing a classmate, or for helping a homeless woman, or for burping?

In fact, in New York City, one student is arrested every day, and — big surprise — 94% are black or Latino, continuing NYPD Chief Ray Kelly’s war on minorities.

In short, America’s youth are being arrested at rates that have almost doubled since 1965.

Surely, an America that has been fueled by post-9/11 PATRIOT Act funds that have paid for para-military police forces might have some affect on the tremendous increase in the number of arrests we’re seeing?

Surely no reasonable American looks at their neighbor’s kids and agrees that 4 in 10 probably should have been arrested?

NYC Stop and Frisk statistics via the New York ACLU

And what about possibly unconstitutional habits of urban police forces, like New York City’s which are now being questioned for extreme programs like “Stop & Frisk,” which somehow manage to stop and frisk 600,000 New York City residents last year, and are on track this year to stop and frisk 720,000 — the majority of the black and Hispanic — and manage to arrest black and Hispanic New Yorkers at far higher rates than whites?

In “Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?,” a New York Times op-ed published Sunday, one New Yorker details his experiences under “Stop & Frisk.” It’s not pretty — and if you can put yourself in his shoes, you’d most likely run.

Earlier this month, the Times published a story that pointed to the occupy Movement, stating, “many cities have evicted encampments and blocked marches through enormous shows of force,” and offered the above graphic, “Riot Gear’s Evolution.” Is there any question that police outfitted like storm troopers — instead of motorcycle riders — are more-likely to arrest protestors?

When does this end, and how?

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