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This chapter gives an overview of the handling, i. e. treatment of persons cleared by the police, etc., through the subsequent processes of prosecution, trial, correction, and rehabilitation (see Part III, Chapter 2, Section 1 for the treatment of juveniles).
Fig. II-1 shows the flow of treatment for adult offenders.
Fig. II-1 Flow of treatment of adult offenders under the Penal Code
In addition to investigating these referred cases mentioned above, public prosecutors may initiate investigation themselves into a case when they become aware of it or receive a charge or complaint as the need arises. After completing investigation of such cases, public prosecutors decide whether or not the case is to be prosecuted, taking into account the existence of a crime, the nature of evidence, the necessity of punishment and various other circumstances.
A case prosecuted in court may, when subject to summary proceedings, result in a fine or minor fine of no more than 500,000 yen, following a quick, simple examination of written documents. When subject to formal proceedings, the case is prosecuted for trial. When found guilty in formal proceedings, a sentence of death, imprisonment with or without labor, a fine, penal detention, or a minor fine may be handed down to the offender. In the case of sentences of imprisonment with or without labor of 3 years or less, or fines of 500,000 yen or less, the sentence may, depending on the circumstances, be suspended for a fixed period. In such cases, the sentence may be accompanied by probationary supervision for the duration of the suspension. If a sentence of guilty is made final, the sentence shall be executed as instructed by the public prosecutor, unless it is suspended. Imprisonment with or without labor and penal detention are carried out in prisons, juvenile prisons, and other penal institutions. Penal institutions aim to give correctional treatment through the execution of the sentence, thereby aiming for the reform and social rehabilitation of offenders.
Offenders who are unable to pay fines or minor fines are detained in workhouses attached to correctional institutions.
Inmates are released and returned to society on completion of their sentence. However, in some cases, the regional parole board may decide that an inmate can be released provisionally before the completion of the sentence (release on parole in the case of imprisonment with or without labor, and provisional release in the case of penal detention;provisional release shall also apply in the case of detention in workhouses). Inmates released on parole are placed under probationary supervision for the duration of the release period.
Women offenders given dispositions for being subject to guidance for Anti-Prostitution Law violations are detained in women's guidance homes. If granted a release on parole, they are then placed under probationary supervision.
Offenders placed under probationary supervision receive guidance, supervision, and protective assistance from probation officers in probation offices and volunteer probation officers, who attempt to improve their reform and social rehabilitation.