The Power of Peace: A Program Assessment
Dr. Kareema J. Gray

This small scale study investigated what would happen when men at a dangerous maximum security prison, Hays State Prison in Trion, GA signed a “Peace Pledge.” Following the example of men like Gandhi, King, Mandela and Jesus of Nazareth, they set out to see if they could live in peace with the men that reside in Georgia’s toughest prison. “40 Days of Peace” began on the 25th anniversary of MLK Day in 2011 and would continue for the following forty days. These men chronicled their success, struggles and failures in journals; these are bold men, some of whom are former gang members serving life sentences. This study examines the Peace Movement that they unknowingly started and that would continue to spread in their facility based on the “Seven Peace Doctrines” that they committed to. As these men began to live by these simple, but powerful principles, and they began to prove that peace was a possibility even in places where people say that it cannot happen. Word began to spread throughout the prison and both inmates and staff alike began to talk about “40 Days of Peace.” Instead of being labeled as “weak”, these men began to get a new kind of respect from their fellow inmates.

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