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Poverty as a Defense to Crime

At Crime & Federalism, Mike Cernovich asks whether poverty should be a mitigating factor in criminal sentencing. He cites new research suggesting a link between lead poisoning and criminal behavior and another study showing a link between diet and criminality -- specifically, that people who eat diets low in essential fatty acids are more likely to commit crimes.

Given that children do not choose to live in lead-paint-tainted homes or to eat diets low in essential nutrients, what does this say if those children grow up to commit crimes? If someone slips a drug into your drink and you do something wrong, Cernovich notes, your involuntary intoxication is a mitigating factor at sentencing. Should not the same be true for children involuntarily intoxicated by lead or poor nutrition? As Cernovich puts it:

"Given that poor children are the ones who were most-frequently exposed to lead paint and the ones most likely denied essential nutrients, does it make sense to have a general poverty-as-mitigating-sentencing factor?"

And shouldn't schools be required to serve nutritious food in order to vaccinate children from certain crimes?

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on July 24, 2007 at 04:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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