Colchester does currently enjoy a low reconviction rate. But this is for two specific reasons. First, most of those sent there have committed offences (like the use of soft drugs) which would not result in a prison sentence in the civilian courts. Second, the regime at Colchester offers an excellent, relevant and intensive training course for servicemen and women who are to return to their units. Neither of these factors apply to young offenders.
During the early 1980s, the present government introduced the so-called "short, sharp shock", a similar package of macho strutting and paramilitary bombast. It was abandoned because magistrates increasingly opted for more constructive penalties, and because the Home Office's own evaluation showed that the shock programme did not work. Taxpayers' money should not be wasted repeating this folly.
Prison Reform Trust