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1. Purposes and Methods of Probation/Parole Supervision
Probation/parole supervision plays the most important role in the community-based treatment for offenders in Japan.It is designed to help probationer/parolees improve and rehabilitate themselves through instruction and control and through guidance and assistance.Instruction and control are aimed at ensuring their compliance with their probation/parole conditions imposed,while guidance and assistance are provided based on the principle of self-help.Probation/parole supervision facilitates offenders'reintegration into society,reduces the possibility of their repeating offenses,and thereby contributes to increasing public safety.
Instruction and control are given to an adult parolee mainly by(1)constantly supervising his/her conduct while keeping in contact with him/her and(2)giving him/her appropriate instructions to ensure his/her compliance with his/her parole conditions.On the other hand,guidance and assistance are offered mostly by(1)giving him/her means of education and training,(2)providing him/her with access to medical care and recreation,(3)assisting him/her in obtaining accommodation,(4)giving him/her career guidance and job-hunting assistance,(5)improving and adjusting the environment,(6)helping him/her return to places most suitable for his/her rehabilitation,and(7)providing him/her with living guidance necessary for his/her adjustment to social life.In both of control and assistance,supervision is exercised over each parolee in the most suitable manner and to necessary and appropriate extent.For an adult probationer,supervision is carried out in a similar manner.
Probation/parole supervision is conducted through collaboration between the government and the private sector in Japan.Currently,about1,000probation officers(including those who engage in crime prevention activities other than supervision),who are government employees,cooperate with about50,000volunteer probation officers,who are volunteers in local communities.Each probation officer is comprehensively in charge of a certain area.If an offender living in that area is placed on probation/parole,the officer makes an introductory meeting with him/her,identifies his/her problems and devises his/her appropriate treatment plan.Next is to choose a volunteer probation officer most suitable for the offender and ask the volunteer officer to take charge of the case.If the volunteer officer agrees to take charge of it,he or she will meet the offender on a regular basis to give instruction and assistance in accordance with the treatment plan.If the case requires special care,the probation officer may take direct charge or otherwise become more intensively involved in the case's supervision.In sum,the Japanese probation/parole system is designed to bring about synergistic effects through collaboration between probation officers as experts and volunteer probation officers as local residents and citizens.Such synergy would not occur if either probation officers or volunteer probation officers worked alone.
In the case of any parolee or probationer who stays in a halfway house,the probation officer in charge of the house follows the introductory procedure and work with staff of the house who often doubles as a volunteer probation officer in giving instruction and assistance to the parolee or probationer.
A Day of a Probation Officer
Mr.A works as a probation officer at a probation office in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area.He is in charge of four cities and currently works on about200probation/parole cases and about100environmental adjustment cases.A probation officer like him is sometimes called an"area officer."He cooperates with about70volunteer probation officers living in the area which Mr.A takes charge of.
A typical day of Mr.A goes like this.He arrives at the office in the morning and picks up the phone that starts ringing as soon as he arrives.The call is from a volunteer probation officer who wants to consult with him on the treatment of a probationer.After hanging up the phone,he receives several more calls from other volunteer officers.When he finishes the last telephone conversation,he makes in interview with a parolee who has been released from a prison this morning coming into the office with his guarantor.Mr.A talks with the parolee about his regret over the crime,his present feelings,and his future life plan.Mr.A explains to him the conditions applied during his parole period and other matters that need to be noted.
In the afternoon,Mr.A has two introductory meetings scheduled with two juveniles newly placed under probation.In the first meeting,he talks with the juvenile and his parent about the details of his offense,the cause thereof,his past living circumstances,relationships with his family and friends,and his state of mind,and then explains to him about the supervision to be exercised over him and gives him necessary instruction and assistance.After the meeting,Mr.A chooses an appropriate volunteer officer and asks the officer to take charge of the juvenile.The second meeting with the other juvenile takes longer time than the first one because his offense and family background are more complicated.After the second meeting,Mr.A returns to his desk to find messages of some telephone call from relevant organizations,volunteer probation officers,and people under his supervision.While returning these calls,Mr.A sees a volunteer officer coming into the office with a probationer who has be en causing many problems recently.Mr.A asks them to wait for a while before he gets ready for a meeting with them.In the meeting with them,he carefully listens to their explanation of the probationer's current situation and gives him some instructions and guidance on his attitude and behavior.
After all these meetings,Mr.A has to do paperwork as usual.He prepares documents including case investigation reports,treatment plans,meeting reports,memos to volunteer officers,while remembering the people he met today such as probationers and parolees,guarantors,and guardians.Since treatment plans are very important in carrying out supervision,Mr.A takes special care in preparing those plans.
The next morning,he is scheduled to go to a community center in the area he is in charge and to give a lecture to volunteer officers on interviewing technique.He plans to spend the afternoon in the center as a temporarily-stationed officer and to have meetings with a few of probationers/parolees and also with a guarantor in an environmental adjustment case.After those meetings,he is going to make a home visit to a probationer who he takes direct charge of in order to talk with him and his parents while checking their living realities.