Decades ago, young people living in Kentucky and elsewhere in the U.S. were much less likely to be arrested before the age of 26 than they are today, according to a new study. The study was conducted by the RAND Corporation and published in the journal Crime & Delinquency.

To complete the study, RAND researchers examined data from the long-running Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a survey that tracked information on 35,000 Americans from 5,000 families over 50 years. They found that adults between the ages of 26 and 35 were 3.6 times more likely to have been arrested before the age of 26 than adults ages 66 and above. Over the course of the Panel Study survey period, the arrest rate for young white men increased almost three times, and the arrest rate for women from all ethnic groups increased from 1 in 100 to 1 in 7.

The study also found that Americans with low education levels were more likely to be imprisoned. For instance, around 60 percent of men between the ages of 26 and 35 with no high school education had been arrested before the age of 26. However, only 23 percent of men who attended college had been behind bars as young adults. Meanwhile, individuals with one arrest on their record earned an average of $6,000 less as adults than those with no arrests, and those with two or more arrests earned an average of $13,000 less. The authors of the study said that increased enforcement may be the reason behind the rise in arrest rates.

Individuals who have been arrested might be able to avoid conviction by contacting a criminal defense attorney for help. The attorney may review the evidence, challenge the prosecution’s case and push to get the charges reduced or dropped.