Increasing number of teens and young adults getting arrested

By: Conroy Delouche Email
By: Conroy Delouche Email

More young people are getting cuffed and booked than ever before.

A recent study shows almost one out of every three people under the age of 23 will be arrested.

Forty years ago, it was just one in five.

Richard Bean has seen thousands of kids booked at the Knox County Juvenile Detention Center.

Last year, nearly 2,000 under 18 were arrested. Unlike national numbers, that's down 600 from 2009.

"Most of our kids it scares the devil out of them and you never see them anymore," said Bean.

He estimates only one out of 20 Knox County kids are ever brought into jail, way below the study's numbers.

However, there are those who are released, and then put right back behind bars.

"Some other people have something to prove, and it's like a badge of honor to be arrested and serve time," said Keira Wyatt.

Wyatt is the executive director of CONNECT Ministries. She works closely with folks, young and old, Who have done time in the slammer.

She says once kids fall into a trap, it's hard for them to get jobs, pay child support and in some cases afford even the basic necessities.

Wyatt tries to help people break that cycle and establish a new support system. Without it, she says it's like digging a hole backwards.

Bean says the two crimes that are steadily rising among kids are domestic violence, and drugs.

The latter is an adult problem that many sheriffs tell us also contributes to jail-overcrowding across the state.

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