A large number of American men have already been arrested by the time they're in their early 20s, according to a new report.
The study, published on Monday in the journal Crime & Delinquency, found that nearly half (49 percent) of African-American men and 40 percent of white men have been arrested by the age of 23, "which can hurt their ability to find work, go to school and participate fully in their communities," according to a press release.
The research was based on an analysis of national survey data from 1997 to 2008 of teenagers and young adults. The arrests included minor crimes like truancy as well as serious violent crimes. It excluded traffic offenses.
The study also found:
By age 18, 30 percent of black males, 26 percent of Hispanic males and 22 percent of white males have been arrested.
By age 23, 49 percent of black males, 44 percent of Hispanic males and 38 percent of white males have been arrested.
While the prevalence of arrest increased for females from age 18 to 23, the variation between races was slight. At age 18, arrest rates were 12 percent for white females and 11.8 percent and 11.9 percent for Hispanic and black females, respectively. By age 23, arrest rates were 20 percent for white females and 18 percent and 16 percent for Hispanic and black females, respectively.
"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," the study's lead author, University of South Carolina Criminology Professor Robert Brame, said in the release.
Previous studies have found that blacks are discriminated against in every phase of the criminal justice system, from arrest to prosecution and sentencing.
"As a society, we often worry a great deal about the effects of children watching television, eating junk food, playing sports and having access to good schools," Brame said. "Experiencing formal contact with the criminal justice system could also have powerful effects on behavior and impose substantial constraints on opportunities for America's youth."