breaks some stereotypes
He’s 31, completed high school and has a 53 percent chance
of having a job. More likely than not, he drank heavily or used
“He” – according to a new report by researchers
at California State University, Sacramento – is the average
male booked in Sacramento County Jail over the last three years.
If you think you know all about him, you’re probably wrong.
In fact, the researchers say the average Sacramento County male
arrestee defies many stereotypes and is much more “grounded”
in the community than most people would expect.
At 31, he’s older than many would assume. He’s more
educated, with a 75 percent chance of having completed at least
high school. He has only an 11 percent chance of being homeless.
He’s probably wasn’t arrested for a violent crime such
as rape or murder (5 percent). And while he’s likely to test
positive for illegal drug use, that is more likely in property crimes
(80 percent) than in violent crimes (67 percent).
The most common reasons for arrest include drug possession, probation/parole
violation, spouse/partner abuse, driving while intoxicated, and
disturbing the peace.
The researchers looked at male arrestees because they make up 80
percent of the more than 50,000 arrests in the county each year.
“Most of us who live in metro areas carry with us stereotypes
about ‘the bad guys,’ and some of these are probably
right on the money,” says one of the report’s authors,
Joseph Sheley, dean of the CSUS College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary
Studies. “But for the most part, we don’t really know.
If someone asked us a question about an average arrestee’s
education, for instance, we either would not know, or would give
the wrong answer. Sometimes it’s helpful to know our area
better by understanding who it is who seems to be getting in trouble.”
co-authored the report along with CSUS sociology professor Jacqueline
The findings are based on three years of data from the Arrestee
Drug Abuse Monitoring program, a long-term federal study of arrestee
drug use and other characteristics. The ADAM Sacramento County site
is administered by the CSUS Institute for Social Research.
Other findings about male arrestees in Sacramento County include:
They are disproportionately non-white (57 percent compared to
38 percent overall in the county).
They are much less likely to be married (24 percent compared to
56 percent overall in the county).
They are much less likely to have a college education (26 percent
compared to 58 percent overall in the county).
They are most likely to live in downtown Sacramento (15 percent).
77 percent tested positive for illegal drug use at the time of
52 percent had drunk heavily in the last month, and 53 percent
had used marijuana.
87 percent have a prior arrest record.
61 percent have no health insurance.
report is available online by following the link from the press
release at www.csus.ed/news.
Joseph Sheley may be contacted at (916) 278-6504, and Jackie Carrigan
may be contacted at (916) 278-6801. Additional media assistance
is available by contacting the CSUS public affairs office at (916)