borstal system (bôr´stəl), rehabilitation method formerly used in Great Britain for delinquent boys aged 16 to 21. The idea originated (1895) with the Gladstone Committee as an attempt to reform young offenders. The first institution was established (1902) at Borstal Prison, Kent, England. Main elements in the borstal programs included education, regular work, vocational training, and group counseling. Some borstals, such as Lowdham Grange, were open, having no walls or gates. The Criminal Justice Act 1982 abolished the borstal system.
See B. Behan, Borstal Boy (1958); R. Hood, Borstal Re-Assessed (1965).