Press Centre

Bring Back Borstal

  • Episode: 

    2 of 4

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Thu 15 Jan 2015
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 03 2015 : Sat 10 Jan - Fri 16 Jan
  • Channel: 

The information contained herein is embargoed from all Press, online, social media, non-commercial publication or syndication - in the public domain - until Tuesday 6 January 2015.
“This is a tough regime. It’s relentless. It’s for day upon day, upon day. We are not locking up these young men and allowing them to sit in their cells watching television or playing Playstation. We’re saying that being active on the sports field, or in the classroom, or at work, will ultimately help them have a better stake in the community when they return.” Professor David Wilson, The Governor
1930s Borstal was a much-feared institution designed to reform young offenders by enforcing compulsory work, education, discipline and intense physical activity. In its heyday, it was a system that worked, with low levels of re-offending and a low financial cost. Today, nearly three quarters of young offenders released from prison reoffend within twelve months. But what would happen if they were sent to Borstal? 
In a unique experiment, 14 young troublemakers, half of whom have criminal convictions, have volunteered to become borstal boys, spending four weeks in a castle in Northumberland to bring the borstal back to life. Between them they have around 60 criminal convictions and many have served time in prison. But under the guidance of experts, can they handle the dreaded institutional regime of the past?
Taking on the role of Borstal Governor is one of the UK’s leading criminologists, Professor David Wilson, who will oversee the troublemakers to see if they can break their cycle of bad behaviour. David says: 
“I’m taking part in this experiment because seven out of ten young people who went through Borstal in the 1930s never committed crime again after their release.”
Last week after being force fed fitness, discipline and hard work, four of the Borstal Boys found the regime too tough to handle and left. 
In the second week of the experiment, the nine remaining lads have to learn to take responsibility for cooking, laundry and washing duties. 
Tensions between lads and staff reach breaking point as London rioter Valero kicks off about the borstal food and the Kearney brothers clash with Matron. 
The Governor hopes the intervention of reformed 70’s gangster Noel “Razor” Smith and a visit from the local vicar can keep the boys on the straight and narrow and start to turn their lives around.