People in Oklahoma and across the country who are currently under the age of 26 are arrested at a much higher rate than people in the same age group from previous generations were. The study that contained these results was published in the journal Crime & Delinquency and was conducted by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit organization focusing on public policy.

To compare arrest rates between generations, RAND researchers analyzed data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which followed the work histories, wages and arrest records of approximately 35,000 people from 5,000 U.S. families over a 50-year period. They found that young adults between the ages of 26 and 35 today are 3.6 times more likely to have spent time behind bars than adults ages 66 and above. They also found that the arrest rate for white men increased by nearly 300 percent over the course of the study period. Meanwhile, the arrest rate for women of all ethnic backgrounds spiked from 1 in 100 to 1 in 7 over the same period. They also found that black men were more likely than white men to get arrested, but the disparity between the two groups is rapidly shrinking.

According to the authors of the study, increased enforcement is likely the reason for the rise in arrest rates. However, it comes at a high societal cost. The study found that Americans with arrest records had lower incomes, worked fewer weeks per year, had lower hourly wages and were less likely to be married. Researchers also found that education played a major role in someone’s risk of getting arrested.

Being charged with a felony or misdemeanor, regardless of age, is not something to be taken lightly. People who are in this type of a situation might find it advisable to meet with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in order to learn how to proceed.