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2 Work(1) Overview
Work is mainly carried out by inmates sentenced to imprisonment with work who are legally obliged to engage in specified work, and by fine defaulters in workhouses who cannot complete the payment of fine or petty fine. In addition, some voluntary work can also be undertaken by inmates sentenced to imprisonment without work and those detained by misdemeanor imprisonment without work upon request. As of March 31, 2009, 86.9% of inmates sentenced to imprisonment without work were engaged in voluntary work (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
The primary purpose of work is to raise the motivation of inmates to work and enable them to acquire vocational knowledge and skills. Work is divided into production (woodwork, printing, tailoring, metalwork, etc.), work that sustains the actual institution (cooking, cleaning, care assistance, maintenance work, etc.), and vocational training. Inmates are assigned to a specific work category according to their individual aptitude. Work is carried out not only inside of the penal institutions but also at external work sites managed by penal institutions. In addition, a system of outside work with commute travel implemented in cooperation with private enterprises is also available in which inmates commute to external work sites without being accompanied by an official of the penal institution and then engage in work or take vocational training there onsite.
The average daily number of inmates engaged in work in FY 2008 was about 65,900 persons, and the amount of revenue from that work about 5.3 billion yen (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
(2) Work conditions
The total hours spent on correctional guidance including guidance for reform and work, is limited to a maximum of eight hours a day. On special occasions, however, such as when a place for correctional guidance needs to be secured or a delivery deadline of products pertaining to production work needs to be met, work hours may be extended to be more than eight hours but no longer than 12 hours a day. No work is carried out on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, and year-end and new-year holidays, apart from the cooking, meal delivery, stockbreeding, and other work that needs to be done on a daily basis.
Work environments, safety, and the inmates’ health are all secured in accordance with the Industrial Safety and Health Act, etc.
Any revenue of the inmates’ work belongs to the nation. Incentive remuneration, however, is paid to inmates engaged in work. The incentive remuneration is paid when they are released, in principle. The amount allocated for incentive remuneration (budget) in FY 2008 was an average of 4,211 yen per month per person (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice). Examining the amount of incentive remuneration paid to inmates released in 2008 revealed that 22.1% of them received more than 50,000 yen and 25.7% received 10,000 yen or less (Source: Annual Report of Statistics on Correction).
(3) Vocational training
Vocational training is provided at penal institutions for inmates to acquire the knowledge and skills that are useful in employment.
There are three types of vocational training, namely general training, group training, and internal training. General training is implemented for eligible sentenced inmates selected from penal institutions nationwide at eight designated general training facilities (Yamagata, Fukui, Yamaguchi, and Matsuyama Prisons, and Hakodate, Kawagoe, Nara, and Saga Juvenile Prisons). Group training is mainly implemented at each Regional Correction Headquarters while internal training is implemented at all penal institutions for selected eligible inmates.
Penal institutions have also been making the effort to increase the range of vocational training subjects available to ensure they match the needs of employers. New courses in CAD technology and comprehensive beauty technology were added in FY 2008. In the same fiscal year 30 vocational training subjects including welding, electrical engineering, car maintenance, construction, printing, woodcraft, construction machinery and home care, and the above mentioned new courses were implemented, with 2,513 inmates completing vocational training and a total of 3,929 inmates obtaining a qualifications or a license as a welding technician, electrician, auto mechanic, etc. (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
(4) Employment support
Since FY 2006, the Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, has been implementing comprehensive employment support measures for securing the employment of released inmates, etc. As part of those measures, vocational counseling, etc. by public employment security office staff members has been implemented at penal institutions (See (1) of Subsection 3, Section 1, Chapter 4, Part 7).