When you are 17, you are not allowed to purchase cigarettes, drink or vote. But you can be tried on a felony charge.
The Chicago Reporter's latest investigation found that the number of 17-year-olds convicted of a felony jumped from 777 in 2010 to 907 in 2011.
One consequence of sending youth offenders into the adult system is that it makes them more likely to reoffend, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This may go some way towards explaining the continuing rise in convictions.