According to Newsmax.com, practically a third of Americans have an arrest record, which can create problems when looking for work and housing, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Most employers conduct criminal background checks on job applicants. With more police making more arrests, and with the Internet providing easy access to the criminal database, Americans are learning that the stigma of rap sheet is hard to shake.
In response to rising crime levels in the 1980s and 1990s police followed a zero tolerance approach for even minor infractions. Crime went down and more serious offenses were probably deterred, law enforcement authorities say. Now, the FBI criminal database contains some 77.7 million names amounting to one out of three adults. Thousands of new names are added daily, according to the WSJ.
A University of South Carolina study found that some 40 percent of men had been arrested by age 23. Among African Americans the rate was 49 percent, for Hispanics 44 percent, and for whites 38 percent. Almost 20 percent of women have also been arrested by the age of 23. Forty-seven percent of people arrested were not convicted, the WSJ reported.
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