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Sheriff's new HOPE Center helps inmates adjust to life outside of Massachusetts prisons

New program helps inmates prepare for life outside of prison
New program helps inmates prepare for life outside of prison 02:05

BRAINTREE - The new HOPE Center in Braintree, Massachusetts is helping people transition from life in prison back into society.

What is the HOPE Center?

HOPE stands for healing, opportunity, purpose and engagement. Norfolk County Sheriff Patrick McDermott pushed for the center to open when he was elected in 2021. He said the center extends its reach to the community helping to keep residents safe by reducing the risk for a convicted criminal to reoffend.

"When it comes to people who are incarcerated, people that go through the criminal justice system. These are your neighbors, these are your family, your friends. These are people that have just gone off the wrong path in life," McDermott told WBZ-TV.

"Getting out of the system"

"Getting out of the system is hard," said John Keegan. Keegan turned himself in for his charge 20 years ago when he was addicted to drugs. In the short amount of time he's been part of the HOPE Center, he finally feels like he's getting the support he needs.

"They'll ask do you need food? Do you food stamps? Do you need clothing and all that I need for the time being until I find a job," Keegan told WBZ.

"It seems like they're just very grateful for someone to just listen to them and to feel that they are absolutely being helped," said program manager Cheryl Portman.

Norfolk County Sheriff's obligation

McDermott hopes the treatment services help reintegrate inmates into the workforce, education, and the community.

"As sheriff, I have an obligation to do what I can do to give you a better product than what I received," McDermott told WBZ.

Keegan said the program has already helped him.

"It gives me hope because I'm so used to just walking out and getting into trouble and going to do drugs and stuff like that and then I come back in. Now this way, I have something when I walk out and I'm like okay, I don't need all this stuff," he said.

For more information and how you can get involved, visit

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