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1. Overview of parole
(1)Type of parole
Parole is the general name for a system whereby inmates of correctional institutions are released under certain conditions before the completion of their term of confinement and given the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves, in order to enable them to return smoothly to society.
There are four type of parole, as follows: (1)parole of inmates sentenced to imprisonment with or without labor; (2)provisional release of penal detainees or workhouse detainees; (3)provisional discharge of juveniles sent to juvenile training schools;and (4)provisional discharge of women in women's guidance homes.
(2)Examination of parole
3members of individual Regional Parole Boards form a council. Upon receiving applications for parole from wardens of correctional institutions, the councils start the process of parole examination by entrusting the actual examination to an appointed member (referred to as"chief examiner"for the purpose of this Chapter). In principle, the chief examiner interviews the inmate or detainee in question and examines issues such as (1)whether granting parole is appropriate, (2)the timing of parole, and (3)special conditions to be observed during the parole period. Based on the results of the examination, the council makes a decision on whether parole is to be granted, following deliberation. In 2000, chief examiners personally interviewed 16,215 persons in correctional institutions (13,040 inmates in prisons and 3,175 inmates in juvenile training schools) (Source:Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
In this section, we will give an overview of the state of parole, focusing on parole for prison inmates (see Part III, Chapter 2, Section 6-1 for details of provisional discharge from juvenile training schools).
(3)Requirements for grant of parole
Parole is granted to inmates sentenced to imprisonment with or without labor who show signs of remorse, after serving one-third of the fixed term of sentence or 10 years of a life sentence. In the case of offenders who were sentenced to imprisonment with or without labor as juveniles, parole is granted to them after they have served 7 years of a life sentence, 3 years of the fixed term of sentence (10 years or more and less than 15 years)if they committed the offense before the age of 18, or one-third of the minimum term of an indeterminate sentence. Offenders are sentenced to life imprisonment if they have committed an offense punishable by death when they were under 18 years of age. In this case, parole is granted to such offenders after they have served ten years of a life sentence as in the case of adult offenders (see Part III, Chapter 2, Section 1-1 (1) ).
After offenders have served the relevant statutory period of sentence, the following four items are judged comprehensively: (1)whether they show signs of remorse, (2)whether they show a willingness to reform themselves, (3)whether they show no likelihood of repeat offense, and (4)whether the social sentiment will approve parole for them. Parole is finally granted when it is deemed to be reasonable, based on the judgments, to put such offenders on probationary supervision for their reform and rehabilitation.