Boston, MA - The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department has created a new plan to help keep young inmates out of jail, and it’s given the inmates some hope to get them through their jail time.

The program that was developed by the Suffolk Department is better known as PEACE – Positive Energy Always Creates Elevation. Sheriff Steve Tompkins created the cellblock and presented it to officials and inmates recently. The idea behind PEACE is that inmates will be treated better behind bars from now on.

Sheriff Tompkins stated in his speech that America is known for incarcerating too many people in this country. He said this is especially true among people of color. He added that this cellblock is one way to address the problem at hand.

The PEACE unit will now promise a more familial environment, versus a hostile one, here at South Bay. The respect level is to be changed and raised to a higher standard. In stating that, Sheriff Tompkins means in all areas of jail – inmates treat officers with respect and vice versa.

The three officers that are apart of the PEACE unit had to go through restorative justice training before opening the unit. Going forward, whenever an inmate misbehaves, punitive measures and actions are not to happen unless as a last resort; instead, officers are instructed to intervene and try to de-escalate the matter at hand.

The PEACE unit opened approximately a month and a half ago, and according to inmate Ticas, his perspective has already changed drastically. He stated, “I definitely have transformed to a better man so far.” He’s now involved in several programs and is even taking college courses.

Doing time in jail is always difficult, but the PEACE unit allows inmates to feel more normal, and therefore relatable.

The PEACE unit currently houses 26 inmates. The overall capacity caps out at 75 inmates. Inmates are chosen primarily based on their age, but if that said inmate is a fighter or a gang member, they will not make the cut.

There have been bumps along the road so far, but everything will work out with some time and effort.