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3. Educational activities
Educational activities in penal institutions consist of guidance and training on commencement of the execution of the sentence, guidance and support prior to release, academic education, correspondence courses, and life guidance. Those activities are implemented both inside and outside the institutions and play a major role in achieving rehabilitation of inmates and promoting rehabilitation into the society.
Table II-16 shows the state of implementation of educational activities outside institutions over the last three years.
Table II-16 Educational activities outside institutions (1998-2000)
(1)Guidance and training on commencement of the execution of the sentence
The period of guidance and training on commencement of the execution of the sentence is generally around 2 weeks. During this period, efforts are made to give newly imprisoned offenders mental stability and motivation to reform and rehabilitate themselves. They are also given orientation on the meaning of the execution of their sentence, the purpose, system, and contents of their treatment, and other matters as well as various training needed for communal living, with the aim of helping the inmates understand the proper way of living and behaving inside the institution, as well as the contents of their treatment.
Academic education is geared toward inmates who have not completed compulsory education or who have low academic ability despite having completed compulsory education, and includes lessons or supplementary lessons in Japanese language, mathematics, social studies and other basic subjects. At the Matsumoto Juvenile Prison, in particular, a branch of the local junior high school has been set up and groups of eligible inmates who have not completed compulsory education are given lessons. In March 2001, 6 inmates who completed these courses were given certificates of graduation. At each of the Morioka, Matsumoto, and Nara Juvenile Prisons, senior high school courses are given by correspondence with the cooperation of local prefectural senior high schools. Further, at the Kawagoe Juvenile Prison and several other prisons, inmates wishing to go to university can receive guidance on the University Entrance Qualification Examinations, and measures are taken to help them take the exams (Source:Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
In 2000, 5,606 inmates took academic education lessons. Of these, 548 had not completed compulsory education, 2,666 had only completed compulsory education, 1,078 had dropped out of senior high schools, and 898 had graduated from senior high schools (Source:Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
Correspondence courses are given with a view to improving inmates'general education as well as their occupational knowledge and skills. Participants are divided into publicly financed students for whom the state covers all costs needed for the education and self-financing students who cover the costs themselves.
In FY 2000, 2,791inmates took the correspondence courses, studying topics such as bookkeeping, calligraphy, penmanship, English, radio and electrics, and other subjects (Source:Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
Life guidance is designed to raise self-awareness of inmates, make them acquire well-regulated living habits and incentive to work, nurture in them attitudes, habits, knowledge, etc. for living in the community. As well as participating in group activities, lecture, reading guidance, club activities, and various meetings in the course of their daily life in the institutions, inmates receive counseling both individually and in groups. Inmates who belong to the same type are grouped depending on the details of their offenses and the factors that led them to criminal behavior, and given lectures, group discussion, group counseling and other guidance programs (guidance depending on type of treatment). In particular, guidance aimed at preventing stimulant drug abuse is given in nearly all institutions. Guidance is also given on individual problems such as withdrawal from organized crime groups, education on alcohol abuse, and traffic safety guidance.
(5)Guidance and support prior to release
For inmates who are about to be released, measures are taken to ease their anxiety about life after release, establish future prospects, achieve a smooth transition to life in society, and establish motivation for reform and rehabilitation. To this end, pre-release treatment is conducted in a planned and organized manner, with contents and methods that suit individual inmates.
The length of pre-release treatment is, in principle, 2 weeks for inmates due for parole and 1 week for those whose release date is imminent on completion of the execution of their sentences. In addition to information that will be needed for daily life immediately after release, information on the probation system and other rehabilitation and protection methods as well as guidance and support regarding matters necessary to return home and make a living are provided. This treatment is implemented in cooperation with related public and private organizations and nongovernmental volunteers, in accordance with the contents of guidance.