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7. Cooperation from the nongovernmental sector
The operations of penal institutions, in particular, educational activities, are carried out with support and cooperation from volunteers in the nongovernmental sectors, including volunteer visitors for inmates and prison chaplains.
(1)Voluntary visits for inmates
Voluntary visits for inmates intend to solve the worries of individual inmates, families, jobs, future life plans, and other problems with advice and guidance of volunteer visitors for inmates, who are nongovernmental volunteers. These visits are now firmly established as an important means of treatment. Volunteer visitors for inmates are qualified or experienced individuals, religious persons, persons concerned with rehabilitation, who are recommended by the wardens of correctional institutions and commissioned by the Superintendents of Regional Correction Headquarters. They serve for two years and may be re-appointed.
As of December 31, 2000, there were 1,188 volunteer visitors for inmates, of whom 211 were specialized in literary arts, 211 in education, 160 in religion, 148 in rehabilitation, 80 in law (legal profession), 74 in trade and commerce, and 45 in social welfare, etc. In 2000, a total of 15,214 voluntary visits for inmates were made, of which 5,179 were concerned with education, 3,465 with hobbies, and 1,573 with mental worries (Source:Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
To enhance voluntary visit activities, the National Federation of Volunteer Visitors for Inmates has been established as a nationwide organization of such committees.
Religious instructions are given, at the request of inmates who have religious beliefs, those who seek a religion, and those who have an interest in religion, by nongovernmental religious volunteers (called"prison chaplains"). These instructions include religious lectures, religious rites and reading of sutras, etc. They are aimed at providing inmates with opportunities to satisfy their religious needs while ensuring their religious freedom.
As of December 31, 2000, there were 1,529 prison chaplains, and they gave religious services 9,304 times collectively and 5,702 times individually (Source:Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
The National Federation of Prison Chaplains has been established as a national organization of chaplains.