Thousands of teenagers cycle in and out of the state's eight youth prisons every year. In fact, 1,300 are locked up at any one time. So, WBEZ’s investigative team went out to find out who they are and how their time in jail affected their chances of turning their lives around.
Reporter Rob Wildeboer introduced us to Marcus, a 14-year-old boy who was struggling to graduate from grade school. Marcus is a pseudonym we're using to protect the young man's identity.
For Marcus, joining a gang was gradual; it just kind of happened. It started with hearing the tales of school mates who stayed out all night and had adventures.
Marcus spent a lot of this past year in juvenile jail. But there are some promising things that may come from that experience.