Problem Snapshot: Arrests for Common Youth Misbehavior
When most adults were growing up, common youth misbehaviors – things like a school fight without injury, or vandalizing a bathroom wall, or even stealing a key chain from a surf shop – resulted in a trip to the principal’s office or a call to parents. Other common youth misbehaviors like disrupting a school function, possession of alcohol, trespassing, disorderly conduct and loitering also often result in an arrest.
Today, these common youth misbehaviors can result in being arrested – handcuffed, placed in the backseat of a police car, fingerprinted and, most importantly, saddled with a criminal misdemeanor record. That criminal record can often create insurmountable hurdles that keep youth from furthering their education, getting jobs, and with housing and loans.
More troubling is that arresting youth for common youth misbehavior often harms public safety and fleeces taxpayers. These types of arrests create more crime and are very expensive.
The approach of using arrests to address common youth misbehavior is in dire need of change.