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 White paper on crime 2004 Part5/Chapter2/Section1/1. 

Section1 Development of Correction of Adult Offenders

1. Establishment of the Prison Law and the philosophy of correction(pre-war period)

  The Prison Law, enforced on October1,1908,in conjunction with the existing Penal Code,forms the foundation for the current correction scheme.At that time,it was rare to provide for a prison system in general under an independent law,and in this respect,the Prison Law was a pioneering law in the world.On the other hand,due to its emphasis on the matters relating to prison management such as detention,custody,and disciplinary punishment,the Prison Law does not clearly lay down the philosophy of promoting rehabilitation and reintegration into society of offenders.
  Such philosophy was explicitly stipulated for the first time under the Ordinance for Prisoner's Progressive Treatment(Ministry of Justice Ordinance)enacted in1933.Article1of the Ordinance provided that"the purpose of this Ordinance shall be to encourage prisoners to repent for their offenses and to relax their treatment depending on the degree of their efforts for reform,thereby encouraging prisoners to gradually adapt to life in society"clearly indicating that the execution of imprisonment was not only aimed to merely deprive prisoners of freedom but help them rehabilitate and reintegrate themselves into society.Such administrative function,performed by executing imprisonment so as to encourage offenders to rehabilitate and reintegrate themselves into society,is referred to as correction.The Ordinance for Prisoner's Progressive Treatment clarified the philosophy of correction and established the"classification of prisoners"as the basis for pro gressive treatment,taking the lead of the Classification Treatment System adopted in the post-war period.