BUFFALO, Mo.-- Prisoners returning to a jail damaged in a failed breakout attempt will find a radically new decor - pink with blue teddy bear accents.

Dallas County Sheriff Mike Rackley said he decided on the color scheme as part of extensive repairs necessary after inmates set a fire and vandalized the interior on Oct. 8.

"Basically, if they are going to act like children and commit a childish act, then we'll make a childish atmosphere," he said. "And it's a calming thing - Teddy bears are soothing. So we made it like a daycare and that's kind of like what it is, a day care for adults who can't control their behavior in public."

"How do you feel tough in a pink atmosphere?" he asked.

Since the jail violence, most of the southwest Missouri county's 30-plus prisoners have been in neighboring jails awaiting completion of the repairs.

Eight inmates already have been returned to the jail, but they are confined to their cells 23 hours a day because of the construction and are "a little testy" because of the restrictions.

"They haven't said much about the color scheme," Rackley said.

He said the new paint job was inspired by similar redecorating efforts at jails in Texas and Arizona.

Researchers have documented the ability of certain colors to evoke emotional and physical responses.

"It's certainly viable," said Mike Carlie, a professor of criminology at Missouri State University. "There have been positive findings that show that certain colors stimulate and excite, and other colors, I guess you would say 'soothe the soul.'"