Sharp Increase in Number of Youth Arrested

Over the last 44 years, the percentage of youth arrested between the age of 8-23 has taken a sharp increase. Today, nearly one in three people will be arrested by the time they are 23, according to a study recently published in Pediatrics.

People were shocked when the original stats came out 44 years ago showing that 22 percent of youth would be arrested by 23. However, the fact that now 30.2 percent of youth will be arrested by age 23 might not come as such a shock to some. Today’s youth face a new breed of problems that the youth of the 1960s didn’t have. They also continue to have some of the same behaviors that with time have grown from minor offenses to criminal charges. They also continue to have some of the same behaviors that with time have grown from minor offenses to criminal charges including many who are serving time for possession of marijuana.

Youth will be arrested for things such as truancy, vandalism, underage drinking, shoplifting, robbery, assault, and murder, according to the Associated Press. One thing I learned working for two years teaching inmates in prison, is that when a young person fails to find his passion in school or out, gangs and deviant behavior take precedent.

“Society is a lot less tolerant of these teenage behaviors,” said criminologist Megan Kurlychek. One way to combat these patterns is to work with sixth and seventh graders on becoming more emotionally intelligent– developing self-awareness, managing strong emotions, being self-motivated, developing social skills —  and learning what their true gifts and abilities might be.

Early social and emotional learning is key in students’ success. If we can teach students who are transitioning into middle school the tools they need to explore their changing world, we can expect great things as they discover new things about themselves and the world around them. My books People Smarts for Teenagers and Gifts and Talents for Teenagers give transitioning students the tools to identify their strengths and weaknesses, learn their learning style, understand their peers and much more.


Study: Nearly 1 in 3 Will Be Arrested by Age 23.” 19 December 2011. The Associated Press. Accessed on 21 December 2011.

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