"Arrest is a pretty common experience," says Robert Brame, a criminologist at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and principal author of the study. Nearly one in three people will be arrested by the time they are 23, a study to be published today in Pediatrics found. – USA Today
Dominant Social Theme: It's for your own good, dammit.
Free-Market Analysis: This is a stunning statistic, in our view. According to a study generated via numbers collected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and reported in USA Today (see above excerpt) one out of every three people in the US will face arrest by the time they are 23.
Not everyone will end up in jail, of course, but the idea that 30 percent of US citizens will have some sort of criminal-oriented interaction with civilian or federal police is surely a startling statistic to many, even American "law-and-order" types.
The article goes on to make the point that nearly 50 years ago US citizens were stunned by a study that found over 20 percent of all US citizens faced some sort of arrest. The interactions between law enforcement and US denizens has thus grown by ten percent in the past decades – or roughly one-third. Here's some more from the article:
Criminologist Alfred Blumstein says the increase in arrests for young people in the latest study is unsurprising given several decades of tough crime policies. "I was astonished 44 years ago. Most people were," says Blumstein, a professor of operations research at the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University who served with Christensen on President Lyndon Johnson's crime task force.
Now, Blumstein says, youth may be arrested for drugs and domestic violence, which were unlikely offenses to attract police attention in the 1960s. "There's a lot more arresting going on now," he says.
The new study is an analysis of data collected between 1997 and 2008 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The annual surveys conducted over 11 years asked children, teens and young adults between the ages of 8 and 23 whether they had ever been arrested by police or taken into custody for illegal or delinquent offenses.
The question excluded only minor traffic offenses, so youth could have included arrests for a wide variety of offenses such as truancy, vandalism, underage drinking, shoplifting, robbery, assault and murder — any encounter with police perceived as an arrest, Brame says. Some of the incidents perceived and reported by the young people as arrests may not have resulted in criminal charges, he says.
What is astonishing – as related above – is these figures do NOT apparently include many traffic offenses, which is where most people might be expected to have the most police interaction at any age – and especially at a youthful one.
So what's changed? The article quotes criminologist Megan Kurlychek as saying that localities handled many minor offenses more informally 40 years ago than they do now. "Society is a lot less tolerant of these teenage behaviors," she says.
The ramifications of so many arrests are as serious as the figures are startling. In modern society, arrest records follow people wherever they go (certainly in the US) and interfere with the ability to gain access to student loans and housing, or even to find a job.
Kurlychek is quoted as saying "Arrests have worse consequences than ever for these juveniles and follow the individual forever." And she adds, "The average teenager who steals an iPod or is arrested for possession of marijuana — why do we make that define their lives?"
Such statistics are the reason why we've written a series of articles about private justice and claimed that the current state-run justice system in the US and the West is simply one more elite dominant social theme on its way to collapse in this Internet era.
We've also written that the "state-run justice meme" will be one of the last to collapse because it is one of the most important and heavily promoted. Most people simply cannot conceive of a justice system that takes place in the absence of a state intermediary.
Of course, hundreds of years ago people would not have been able to conceive of the system that is in place now. The idea that the state provides (pays for) lawmakers, judges, juries, prosecutors, police and penitentiaries would have been seen as the worst form of totalitarianism.
Today, people still cannot conceive of another system even though countries are jailing increasing numbers of people or, as in China, executing them arbitrarily for "crimes" such as drug-dealing that would not even have been punishable in past centuries.
The US is perhaps the biggest offender in terms of incarceration rates. Not only – as we can see from this article – are criminal interactions at an all-time high, but the incarceration rate in the US is the highest in the world by far, with some 3-4 million people under lock and key at any one time.
The system itself is increasingly ludicrous. At some point the cost to society of passing so many laws, generating so many criminals and then locking them up will become insupportable. The alternative will be seemingly to having a society in which half the population is incarcerated while the other half finds employment as prison guards.
For tens of thousands of years, people utilized what we call private justice. There were detailed arrangements worked out to deter crime – including vendettas and duels. Justice also took place on a clan level and within the context of agreed-upon private judges.
This latter arrangement was "lower-case" common law and likely did not rely on precedent, which is another part of modern justice's insupportable arrangements. Every "case" is supposed to generate a "precedent" which is then reapplied in the name of "fairness."
Of course there is nothing fair about it all. The result is merely an appreciating level of charges that can be brought for any given human behavior. "The more laws, the more criminals," – supposedly an old Japanese proverb. Here are some recent article we've written on private justice and the necessity to return to it within the context of the current insupportable nature of the Western system:
There likely is no such thing as "justice." It is an abstract concept – like a nation-state or fiat money. These are dominant social themes created and implemented by a voracious power elite that hopes to leverage its control into world domination.
So what is justice really? It is merely the ability of people to work out their differences in the least murderous way possible with the least amount of damage to their lives. Does the current system, with its emphasis on a hypothetical "debt to society" perform the requisite task efficiently? To ask that question is to answer it.