The American Police State Has Arrested a Third of Us

What is the full impact of the past two decades of the War on Crime? The Wall Street Journal says the FBI currently has close to 80 million Americans in its criminal databases—"nearly one out of every three American adults."

The Journal's numerical overview of the outlines of the extent of America's arrest records is breathtaking. It connects the dots between an upsurge in the number of police, an increase in arrests, and the consequences of all those arrest records, which can be almost impossible to delete from permanent records, even if they did not lead to a conviction. Here are the findings of a 16 -year-long Labor Dept. survey of Americans in their 20s:

Researchers report that more than 40% of the male subjects have been arrested at least once by the age of 23. The rate was highest for blacks, at 49%, 44% for Hispanics and 38% for whites. Researchers found that nearly one in five women had been arrested at least once by the age of 23.

They further determined that 47% of those arrested weren't convicted. In more than a quarter of cases, subjects weren't even formally charged.

If you've ever failed a background check—and you've been arrested for even the most minor (or unjustified) infraction—you can console yourself with the fact that the War on Drugs and Crime and Poverty and Racism has been won, thanks to those 100,000 extra cops.

[Photo: AP]