I watched a programme last night about borstal and a social experiment led by a renowned criminologist where a group of young chaps who had a string of over 60 convictions between them were to live in a castle/prison in Northumberland for four weeks......it was very interesting. Remember that I watched it with the knowledge of one receiving regular letters from someone currently having a rest at HM's pleasure.
My stepson is actually having a rest - he is reading books as fast as the library system can procure them for him, he is pottering about in the workshops making things and helping others to learn woodworking skills, and he is listening to the radio quite a lot too. A far cry from the 14 or 16 hour days he was putting in when he was at work and trying to earn a living seven days a week. He is not "happy" in there - but he is not there to be happy, after all - he hates the food, the lack of choice and the rules and regulations - but he does appreciate why he is in there and he is behaving himself in order to make sure he gets out on time.
So the programme about the life in the borstal was intriguing - and I know that the FH would have loved it. As someone who served a long apprenticeship under a firm-but-fair foreman, and then did his National Service in the RAF, he understood the benefits of discipline, running a tight "ship" and people doing as they were told. He believed that this sort of thing helped to put the Great in Great Britain.
The thing that struck me about the lads on the programme was their attitude - they were so arrogant and cocky, aggressive and defensive all the time, one step away from a fight, it seemed. Not the way to live - but I can see that if that is the way some young people are these days, it is no wonder at the way they interact with people and struggle to hold down a job, showing the absolute contempt for authority that they did.
I shall plan to watch the other programmes in the series over the next three weeks and see how it goes - three of the lads have walked out already so how many there will be left by the end is anyone's guess!
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