What You Need To Know About Borstal Training Institution
The word “borstal” is actually a name of a town near Rochester, Kent, in England. The town of Borstal hosted the first institution for the detention of juvenile delinquents which started in 1902.
One may want to know what actually brought about this kind of institution. Now let us cruise…
In the 18th Century in the United Kingdom, prisons were administered
by local justices. They were numerous with most of them being small lock-ups which were corruptly run and riddled with diseases. Several attempts were made in the United Kingdom to unify these prisons that were under the local authority.
However, in 1821, the first Federal prison was established at Millbank
and it became the nucleus of a system of prisons. Between 1821 and 1894, several adjustments were made in the United Kingdom prison system starting with the establishment of a directorate which was formed in 1850 under the leadership of Colonel Jebb. The directorate was created to superintend over federal prisons which had been built in different parts of the United Kingdom. In 1877, a new Act effectively established a single prison system with central control of the federal and local prisons vested in a prison commission with its chairman being Mr. du Cane.
Mr. du Cane operated a militarized prison system where brutalization
and penal labour were the order of the day. This drew the ire of the society and the media who condemned how Mr. du Cane operated the prisons. The unpopular policy of du Cane gave rise to such misgivings that a Departmental Committee under Mr. Herbert Gladstone was set up to investigate prison conditions in 1895. The committee swung into action and came out with a report which served as guidelines for the present United Kingdom prison system, and in which the idea of the borstal institution was birthed.
Due to the comprehensiveness of this report and the need to salvage
the system from public and media scrutiny, du Cane was sacked and
replaced with Sir Evelyn Ruggles-Brise who as well as founding the
Borstal system in 1902, implemented many of the recommendations of the
Gladstone Report which are mostly humane and liberal. And that was how
the borstal system which has been adopted by many countries in the
world came to be in the town of Borstal, near Rochester, Kent, England.
As provided by the 1962 Borstal Institutions and Remand Centers Act,
borstal institutions are specifically designated for the institutionalization of offenders between the ages of 16-21. In
practice, only the more serious juvenile offenders are committed to the borstal. In the Borstal, offenders are classified on the basis of their age, physical and mental health, length of stay period, degree of delinquency and their character. Besides, factors like sequence of the delinquency, possibilities of functioning as a contamination risk, requirements of custody, educational and vocational training needs, background, possibilities of social adjustment, prospects after
release and rehabilitation needs are considered.
Presently, there are three functional borstal training institutions in
Nigeria located in Kaduna, Ilorin and Abeokuta. This is considered to
be grossly inadequate as juvenile delinquency has continued to be on
the rise in Nigeria. Borstal Institutions are run by the Nigerian Prisons Service. Borstal is sometimes used loosely to apply to other kinds of youth institution or reformatory such as Juvenile Reformatory Homes, Approved Schools and Youth Detention Centres.
The court sentence for juveniles is officially called “borstal
training” and juveniles who have served this sentence are not
considered as ex-convicts. In the United Kingdom, the Criminal Justice
Act 1982 has since abolished the borstal system and in its place,
introduced youth custody centres instead. However, the borstal system
is still operated by many commonwealth countries.
Did you learn a thing here?
Research by DSP Ugwuoke Kelvin Abuchi, State Prison Headquarters, Jos,