Five years ago, Abraham Medina began speaking out on behalf of Santa Ana’s youth, pointing out that detention and punitive measures were not helping and advocating for intervention services to get to the root of behavioral issues.
Until last year, Medina served as project director for Santa Ana Boys and Men of Color (BMOC). While there, he and his colleagues noticed that many of the boys they were trying to help “had mental health and behavioral issues coupled with learning disabilities,” reports Yvette Cabrera. Many of the young boys, in fact, couldn’t pay attention or were hyperactive.
“A ThinkProgress investigation found hazardous levels of lead in almost a quarter of more than 1,000 soil samples tested… [and] also found that the number of Santa Ana children tested with dangerous levels of lead in their blood exceeds the state average by 64 percent.”
Herbert Needleman was a pioneering pediatrician who studies, started in the 1970s, were “the first to suggest that lead exposure might be associated with a higher risk for juvenile delinquency and adult criminality,” University of Cincinnati Professor Kim M. Dietrich told Think Progress.
Her own research, as well as numerous other studies conducted around the country, has firmly linked childhood lead poisoning with adult criminality.