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Aggressive policing leads to surge in arrests

More aggressive policing policies in Ohio and around the country have led to a significant increase in the number of young people being arrested. This was the conclusion reached by researchers from the RAND Corporation after studying information compiled over several decades from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. The data suggests that Americans between the ages of 26 and 35 today are 3.6 times more likely to have been taken into custody by police than those who are older than 66.

The researchers noticed especially pronounced increases in arrests among women and white men. The rate at which white men are arrested has almost tripled in the last few decades according to the RAND study. The number of women arrested before they celebrated their 26th birthday rose from just 1 percent to one in seven during the period studied. The researchers observed increases in both arrests and multiple arrests in every demographic group.

The study reveals that academic opportunity and the higher incomes they often lead to make an arrest far less likely. Less than one in four male college graduates have an arrest on their records according to the researchers. However, this figure rises to a worrying six out of 10 among men who did not earn a high school diploma. Those with an arrest also earn about $6,000 per year less than those with no criminal histories.

The factors that researchers connected with higher arrest rates could also be cited by experienced criminal defense attorneys as mitigating factors during plea negotiations. Prosecutors may be swayed by these arguments and choose to give defendants who have been denied opportunities a second chance. Prosecutors could also worry that tales of hardship might resonate with juries and make defendants more sympathetic.

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