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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.
  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.



Further reading[edit]