I was skeptical, as this is the first time I've come across an article alleging a causal relationship between lead exposure and criminality, but I did a quick search for additional research and found that a study allegedly found lead-exposed counties had 400% the murder rate of low-lead counties, even after controlling for other environmental factors and socioeconomic differences.
However, this article doesn't address the costly "War on Drugs" and its contribution to prison populations, especially private, for-profit prisons that feed on heavy sentences for non-violent offenders. As the WoD becomes less popular, with two states voting to legalize marijuana in 2012, it follows that fewer youth would be newly incarcerated.
Nevertheless, the trend is remarkable.
This is an interesting trend for sure, but I was relieved to read the last paragraph where plenty of room is left to talk about the War on Drugs and its role in filling prisons.
There is an amazing book which everyone interested in the American justice system, racial politics, or justice in general should read called The New Jim Crow. The author writes terrifically and exhaustively covers her subject, leaving no doubt as to the racial motivations and realities of the War on Drugs.
While the only way I can do this book justice is by posting it in its entirety, I will say that this is a book which will bring the light the many kinds of institutionalized racism you probably take for granted if you live in the USA. The statistics, sources, and anecdotes are overwhelming, and have terrifying implications for the future of legislation and policing practices.
Please, even if you only read 1 book a year, make this 2013's book.