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The Difference: How One Man Intervenes to Keep Kids Out of Prison

Virginia Alvino

All this week—and throughout 2014—WBOI News is digging deeper into the reasons behind the achievement gap between black males and their peers in Fort Wayne and meeting the people working to make a change. We’re calling the project “The Difference.”

It can be hard to get out of the legal system once you’re in it – and for black youth it can be especially challenging.

Of any racial group, they’re the most likely to go back to prison after they’ve been released. Over 40% of African American boys in Indiana recidivate, and that number only increases the younger they are.

But there are many people in Fort Wayne trying to end the cycle of recidivism for children and teens. One group is Juvenile Justice Ministries, which offers support to kids while they’re incarcerated.

Faith is a big part of their work, but they also help kids re-enroll in school and set goals for themselves. They also try to maintain those relationships after kids are released.

We recently met a man named Joe Wright, the director of the program, who told us what it’s like to work with incarcerated children, and what he thinks makes the difference.

Credit Virginia Alvino
Source: Indiana Department of Corrections

This is the second story in our week-long kickoff of "The Difference."

You can help inform our coverage of black male achievement in Fort Wayne. Submit photos, stories, or news tips to valvino@nipr.fm

And for personal stories, graphs, and more, check out our tumblr page: thedifferencefw.tumblr.com

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