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Old English beorh (a hill) + stigel (a stile). The institutions are named after Borstal Prison in Kent, England.


borstal (plural borstals)

  1. (Britain) A way up a hill in the South Downs.
  2. (historical) Any of the prisons set up in Britain for delinquent boys from 1895 to 1983.
    Synonym: reformatory
  3. (Britain, Ireland) Any institution which provides education to young offenders.
    • 2004, August 3, Speaker of the Kenyan National Assembly, Kenya National Assembly Official Record, Hansard, page 3126
      You have juvenile courts. Do you have borstal institutions for juveniles?
    • 2011 November 7, Paris Lees, “My Transsexual Summer: a new view of gender”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Seven years ago, I was sent to borstal. Slithering around in the societal sludge, I was forced to admit I'd made a huge mistake – committing robbery.


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