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Substantial Fraction of American Youth Arrested by Age 23

12/19/2011

Excluding minor traffic violations, America’s youth are arrested or taken into custody for criminal activities, resulting in a destructive and unhealthy start in life. In the study, “Cumulative Prevalence of Arrest From Ages 8 to 23 in a National Sample​,” in the January 2012 Pediatrics (published online Dec. 19), researchers estimated the cumulative arrest data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth from ages 8 to 23 years from 1997-2008. 

By age 23, a significant percentage of the population (25.3 percent to 41.4 percent) has been arrested at least once for a nontraffic offense and the greatest increase in the risk of arrest happening during late adolescence. By 18 years of age, the arrest rate is between 15.9-26.8 percent. Early risk factors that can lead to such delinquency include poor academic performance, discord or abuse in the home, hyperactive behavior and poor concentration or language development. Because all of these factors can be identified by pediatricians, study authors agree that early intervention by family members and pediatricians can direct at-risk children to treatment programs or help them steer away from violent and unsafe behavior.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.