Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/18/siberian_boot_camp/

Germans send teen tearaway to Siberia

Boot camp cure for violent youth

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 18th January 2008 14:50 GMT

The German authorities have packed off a violent 16-year-old youth to fend for himself in a remote Siberian village in the hope the "intensive educational experience" will cure him of his anti-social tendencies.

The unnamed lad, from the central state of Hesse, was given his marching orders after "behaving violently in school and at home and attacking his mother", the Guardian explains.

While in the "forlorn" hamlet of Sedelnikovo, a good few hours drive from Omsk, he's obliged to chop his own firewood, pump water from the well, and dig his own toilet.

Worse still, he's cut off from friends, family, TV, and the internet, although he does still attend school "under the supervision of a Russian-speaking German assistant".

Stefan Becker, the head of the youth and social department in Giessen, said: "We deliberately sought a region that was particularly lacking in allure. [He] spends most of his time trying to cope with his day to day existence, living in conditions like we had 30 or 40 years ago. If he doesn't chop the wood, his room is cold. If he doesn't fetch water, he can't wash."

The Germans are apparently in the habit in dispatching ne'er-do-wells to foreign lands*, including Greece and Kyrgyzstan, although while some support the boot camp approach to teen delinquency, others are unimpressed.

The Christian Democratic state president of Hesse, Roland Koch, backs boot camps and and favours "warning-shot" arrests for young offenders. The Guardian notes his election speeches have "particularly focused on clamping down on immigrants, said to be responsible for half of all crimes committed by the under-21s".

For others, though, the whole thing smacks more of "a reality TV show than a social welfare programme", as one commentator put it.

Cash, too, may be a factor. The Siberian exile apparently costs €150 a day - roughly a third of the cost of a locally-based punishment. ®

Bootnote

*Anyone who makes any comment whatsoever even lightly suggesting that the Germans have been sending large numbers of ne'er-do-wells to other people's countries for yonks wil be banned from reading El Reg for, let's say, 1,000 years.