Cadet Parker Coker

"I really wanted to be a good kid" 00:51

Growing up, Parker Coker remembers, his neighborhood wasn't bad, neither were the kids at his school.

Parker Coker is a cadet at Sunburst Youth Academy CBS News

It was the decisions he made that got him into trouble, he said, like ditching school and spending all his time playing video games.

When he was at school, his head was on the desk. "I wouldn't learn a single thing for a year," he said.

"You have to look ahead, and it's not easy to look ahead when you don't know how to, or no one taught you to. It's very easy to get in trouble and make bad choices."

Coker, 17, one of the cadets at Sunburst Youth Academy that CBS News has been following throughout their time in the program.

"My whole family thought I was this good kid," he said. "It was just a false front. I didn't want it to be a false front anymore. I really wanted to be a good kid."