The Inuit of Iqaiuit are experimenting with a new way of dealing with young offenders. Instead of having to serve a term in custody with questionable results, some young male offenders are being taught traditional Inuit ways by two elders and their families in an outpost camp 100 km southeast of Iqaiuit.

The elders set up the camp last September after several years of lobbying for the chance to help wayward kids by imparting their knowledge of the land. The elders do not dwell on the past crimes of the boys, says a report about the program in Nunatsiaq News, an Iqaluit-based newspaper. The boys are treated with respect and as equals.

The camp hasn’t had any incidents of violence, the report said. Unlike in custody, the camp’s residents do not have a repetitive daily routine. But they are busy all the time with daily chores.

The camp has room for six young offenders and security is minimal. The elders want to open the camp to young women and non-Inuit.