Second 'boot camp' to get the go-ahead

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The Independent Online
JOHN RENTOUL

A second American-style "boot camp" for young offenders has been given the go-ahead by ministers. According to government sources, the Home Office will shortly announce a camp to be set up next year at Colchester military corrective centre in Essex.

The centre, for 30 offenders aged 18 to 21, is part of a pilot scheme announced by Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, in September.

Mr Howard then announced that the first boot camp, the 60-place Thorn Cross near Warrington, Cheshire, would open next summer.

Despite the Prime Minister's promise to "shock young offenders out of drifting into crime", the Government's experience of various kinds of "short, sharp, shock" regimes for young offenders has been unsuccessful since 1979. Home Office sources are cautious about the latest American- inspired scheme. They stress it is a small-scale experiment, and say its "graduates" will be monitored closely.

Colchester, which will be run by the Army as an attachment to the existing centre for court-martialled soldiers, will have a more physical regime than at Thorn Cross. The regime is designed to keep inmates fully occupied from 6.30am to 10pm and will have less behavioural therapy, such as anger management training, than Thorn Cross.

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