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7. Cooperation from volunteers outside
Support and cooperation from volunteers outside,including volunteer visitors for inmates and prison chaplains,play an important role in the operations of penal institutions,in particular,for educational activities.
(1) Voluntary visits for inmates
Voluntary visits for inmates enable inmates to receive guidance and advice from private volunteers based on their professional knowledge and experiences.Volunteer visitors are qualified or experienced individuals,religious persons,persons concerned with rehabilitation services,who are recommended by the wardens of correctional institutions and commissioned by the Superintendents of Regional Correction Headquarters.
Contents of guidance and advice include expanding inmates'culture,improving their aptitudes in their hobbies,enhancing their skills,addressing their mental worries,and providing support for issues related to their families,jobs,and future life plans.
As of December31,2003,there were1,140volunteer visitors,191of which specialized in literary arts,196in education,158in religion,129in rehabilitation services,86in law(legal profession),66in commerce and industry,and27in social welfare etc.In2003,a total of14,473voluntary visits were made,4,848of which were concerned with culture,3,238with hobbies,and1,384with mental worries(Source:Data by Correction Bureau,Ministry of Justice).
To enhance voluntary visit activities,the National Federation of Volunteer Visitors for Inmates has been established.
(2) Religious instructions
Religious instructions are given,at the request of inmates,by religious volunteers called"prison chaplains".They include religious lectures,religious rites and reading of sutras etc.and are aimed at providing inmates with opportunities to satisfy their religious needs while ensuring their religious freedom.
As of December31,2003,there were1,517prison chaplains,and they gave religious services9,068times to groups and7,172times individually(Source:Data by Correction Bureau,Ministry of Justice).
The National Federation of Prison Chaplains has been established as a national organization of prison chaplains.