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2 Treatment of probationers/paroleesIn order to facilitate reformation/rehabilitation and achieve prevention of repeat offenses, the following measures have been taken (matters noted as “including juvenile probationers/parolees” are applicable not only to probationers/parolees but also juvenile probationers (refers to anyone placed under probation in a decision made by a family court; hereinafter the same in this subsection, next subsection, and following section) and juvenile training school parolees).
(1) Establishment of special conditions for probation/parole supervision (including juvenile probationers/parolees)
Special conditions for probation/parole supervision are assigned on a case-by-case basis for individual probationers/parolees according to their problems. The amendment of the Act on Probationary Supervision of Persons under Suspension of Execution of Sentence that took place in September 2006 enabled special conditions to be assigned not only to parolees but also to probationers. This was succeeded by the Offenders Rehabilitation Act that was enforced in June 2008.
More concretely, special conditions for probation/parole supervision such as engaging in work or not associating with anyone with criminal tendencies can be assigned. In addition, following amendment of the Act on Probationary Supervision of Persons under Suspension of Execution of Sentence, sex offenders are obliged to participate in a sex offender treatment program. Furthermore, following enforcement of the Offenders Rehabilitation Act, parolees and probationers who meet certain conditions are obliged to participate in a sex offender treatment program, stimulants offender treatment program, or violence prevention program.
All of the above programs are based on specialized knowledge that includes cognitive behavioral therapy theories and aim to facilitate the reformation/rehabilitation of probationers/parolees by helping them to understand their own problems, including any cognitive deviance or lack of self-control, etc. which could lead them to repeat offenses, and to study concrete methods of avoiding doing so.
In addition, the Offenders Rehabilitation Act enabled special conditions for probation/parole supervision to be assigned and modified according to the implementation status of supervision and withdrawn when they are no longer necessary. This made it possible to provide more generous and flexible treatment according to the actual status of reformation/rehabilitation of probationers/parolees.
(2) Systematic probation/parole supervision through graduated treatment (including juvenile probationers/parolees)
Graduated treatment is the system used to provide systematic probation/parole supervision. The system positions probationers/parolees at different treatment levels that are categorized by the difficulty of treatment, which is determined through precise assessments of the possibility of a repeat offense, progress made in reformation/rehabilitation, and the necessity of guidance and assistance. Those with a severe problem are provided with more intensive instruction and supervision, and then such measures as changing treatment levels, bad-conduct measures, and good-conduct measures are systematically applied to them. The system has been implemented since June 1, 2008.
Although this new system abolished the classified treatment system (which classifies probationers/parolees into Class A or Class B according to the expected level of difficulty in treating them), the said system still applies to those released on parole, etc. before enforcement of the Offenders Rehabilitation Act.
(3) Categorized treatment system (including juvenile probationers/parolees)
The categorized treatment system is a system in which probationers/parolees are categorized according to the nature of their offense or delinquency, characteristic problems, etc. and supervision then carried out more effectively by focusing on the problems, etc. specific to that category. The system was first introduced in 1990, with revision of treatment category items, etc. took place in 2003.
Table 2-5-2-5 shows the designation of major treatment categories of probationers/parolees (as of December 31, 2008).
Table 2-5-2-5 Designation of major treatment categories of probationers/parolees (as of December 31, 2008)
(4) Interim treatment system
In order to facilitate a smooth transfer to community life an interim treatment system is available for parolees with life imprisonment or long-term imprisonment (refers to imprisonment for eight years or more; hereinafter the same in this subsection). Under this system parolees live at halfway houses and take systematic life training, etc. for the first month after release. In 2008 interim treatment was implemented for 83 persons (Source: The Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
(5) Implementation of effective treatment on a priority basis (including juvenile probationers/parolees)
Since FY 2007, probation officers have been directly involved in providing guidance, supervision, and rehabilitation assistance to prevent those requiring intensive supervision, including parolees with long-term sentences and juveniles who have committed heinous/serious offenses, etc. from committing repeat offenses. This assistance targets persons who require special consideration with their treatment, such as parolees who have remarkably unstable living conditions or mental state, etc. In addition, since the same fiscal year probation officers have been intensively involved in providing close and specialized treatment to probationers/parolees requiring special attention with their treatment, such as those with the tendency to repeat interpersonal violent acts or who fall within categories such as problematic drinker.
(6) System for communicating the feelings, etc. of victims, etc. and atonement guidance program (including juvenile probationers/parolees)
The system for communicating the feelings, etc. of crime victims, etc. enables victims, etc. upon request to express their feelings on the damage caused by the offense and opinions on the lives of probationers/parolees, etc. to them through probation offices. The system aims to facilitate the reformation/rehabilitation of probationers/parolees through helping them to face up to the reality of the damage caused by the offenses or delinquencies they committed, and thus deepen their sense of remorse.
The redemption guidance program aims to help probationers/parolees who have committed serious offenses to recognize the seriousness of their offenses and deepen their remorse through the practice of specific exercises which strengthen their determination not to commit any offenses again and help them to respond to victims, etc. in a sincere manner that takes the victims’ will into account.
(7) Employment support, etc. (including juvenile probationers/parolees)
Since FY 2006 the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has been implementing comprehensive employment support measures to secure employment for released inmates, etc. As part of these measures, systematic employment support for probationers/parolees has been implemented at probation offices in cooperation with penal institutions, juvenile training schools, and public employment security offices (See (1) of Subsection 3, Section 1, Chapter 4, Part 7).
In addition, establishment of the National Centers for Offender Rehabilitation, etc. has been promoted. The aim of the facility is to prevent repeat offenses by parolees and juvenile training schools parolees, etc. who have no appropriate guarantors and whom private halfway houses have difficulty in accepting. This is achieved by accommodating those parolees and juvenile training school parolees at facilities attached to probation offices and providing them with intensive guidance/supervision and substantial employment support by probation officers to facilitate their reformation/rehabilitation and boost their independence. As the first offender rehabilitation center to provide focused/specialized treatment according to specific problems, the National Center for Offender Rehabilitation in Kitakyushu (capacity of 14 males) commenced operation in June 2009. In September of the same year, the National Center for Offender Job Training and Employment Support in Ibaraki (capacity of 12 males) also commenced operation as an employment support center for parolees, etc., mainly providing agricultural vocational training (See (3) of Subsection 3, Section 1, Chapter 4, Part 7).