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3 Support for reintegration of released inmates, etc. into society(1) Continuous employment support both before and after release
It is essential for anyone who has committed an offense or delinquency to find a job and build stable foundations for their livelihood if they are to reintegrate into society and avoid repeating offenses or delinquencies. Securing employment in particular is extremely important.
Hence great importance has been attached consistently to employment guidance oriented to tasks such as raising motivation to work among those at penal institutions, juvenile training schools, and probation offices. The following employment support measures have been taken in recent years.
First, employment support staff members with qualifications such as career consultants and industrial counselors, etc. have been placed at penal institutions and juvenile training schools since FY 2006. These staff provide inmates, etc. with guidance for practical actual employment situations, including helping them to understand their own vocational aptitudes and to learn the manners needed for smooth communication in the workplace (as of FY 2009 employment support staff members had been placed at 61 penal institutions and 12 juvenile training schools). In addition, vocational training has been provided at penal institutions for inmates to acquire knowledge and skills useful in employment. In FY 2008 efforts were made to expand the available subjects to match the employer needs by adding courses in areas including CAD technology and comprehensive beauty technology (See (3) of Subsection 2, Section 3, Chapter 4, Part 2).
In addition to guidance to help inmates, etc. learn the basic attitudes and vocational knowledge and skills necessary in employment, support must be provided to encourage them to seek work actively and to guide them into actual employment. For this reason comprehensive employment support measures for released inmates, etc. have been implemented in cooperation of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare since FY 2006. These measures concern the establishment of a system in which penal institutions, juvenile training schools, probation offices, and public employment security offices can cooperate in systematically providing individual employment support according to the desires and aptitudes of the support subjects. More concretely, support subjects are being provided with vocational counseling, job placement, and vocational lectures, etc. by the staff of public employment security office at penal institutions and juvenile training schools. Probationers/parolees (including anyone requesting urgent aftercare) can utilize an employment support team consisting of probation office and public employment security office staff members, etc., who select the appropriate support methods and approaches for each support subject and then provide that subject with vocational counseling and job placement services at public employment security offices. In addition to this, seminars/tours of business establishments (112 times) and workshops for hands-on experience at workplaces (12 times) have been conducted to enhance the employability of the support subjects, and a support program has been implemented that utilizes the guarantor system (1,521 persons) and a trial employment system (211 persons) in facilitating employment by business enterprises (figures in parenthesis are actual numbers in FY 2008). This has resulted in 2,138 persons being employed in FY 2008 (Source: The Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
Furthermore, if these measures are to function effectively, an understanding of issues concerning the employment of inmates, etc. must be fostered among business enterprises across a broad range of industries. Probation offices in cooperation with rehabilitation service organizations have hitherto been making efforts to increase the number of cooperative employers, and since FY 2008 have been securing more cooperative employers through a promotion council on employment support for released inmates, etc., held in cooperation with penal institutions, etc. Administrative agencies related to industry/employment and regional economic organizations have been invited to participate in this council and to build understanding and a more cooperative approach to employing released inmates, etc.
(2) Support for reintegration into society of persons requiring welfare support
Since FY 2009 the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and other organs have been cooperating in taking measures to facilitate the smooth reintegration into society of inmates in penal institutions and juveniles in juvenile training schools, focusing on those who find it especially difficult to become independent, such as those who are elderly or have disabilities, and among those people who have no appropriate planned residence upon release.
Certified social workers and psychiatric social workers are being placed at penal institutions and juvenile training schools to identify welfare support needs and assist in welfare applications, etc. before release. As of FY 2009 certified social workers had been placed at 62 penal institutions (psychiatric social workers had also been placed in 8 of these institutions). In addition, certified social workers had been placed at three juvenile training schools and psychiatric social workers at two juvenile training schools.
In order to facilitate a smooth transfer to welfare services, probation offices work in close cooperation with penal institutions, etc. well before inmates, etc. are released. In collaboration with community settlement support centers currently being established at prefectural level by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, they develop living environments that will enable the provision of welfare support in coordination with welfare agencies, etc. Furthermore, anyone facing difficulty in receiving welfare support immediately after being released may be admitted to a halfway house to prepare for transfer to welfare, and provided with guidance/training on adapting to a social life. For this reason welfare staff members with specialized qualifications and experiences on welfare have been placed at 57 halfway houses.
(3) Establishment of the National Centers for Offender Rehabilitation, etc.
The aim of the National Centers for Offender Rehabilitation, etc. is to prevent repeat offenses among parolees and juveniles provisionally released from juvenile training schools, etc. whom private halfway houses have difficulty in accepting. This is achieved by accommodating such parolees and juveniles in 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 self-sufficiency.
The National Center for Offender Rehabilitation in Kitakyushu, with a capacity of 14 adult male parolees, started operation in June 2009 as an offender rehabilitation center to provide focused/specialized treatments according to specific problems. The National Center for Offender Rehabilitation in Fukushima is being prepared to commence operation in the same way. In addition, the National Center for Offender Job Training and Employment Support in Numata-cho (Hokkaido), with a capacity of 12 male juvenile training school parolees, started operation in October 2007, and the National Center for Offender Job Training and Employment Support in Ibaraki, with a capacity of 12 male adult parolees, in September 2009. Both of these centers function as employment support centers mainly for providing agricultural vocational training.
(4) Promotion of understanding in local communities
In implementing treatment at penal institutions, juvenile training schools and probation offices, cooperation has been consistently obtained from relevant regional agencies, private self-help organizations, rehabilitation service organizations and other bodies. In order to further facilitate reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration into society of inmates, etc., in the future social acceptance will have to be fostered by seeking even greater community understanding and cooperation.
In light of this need, the National Organization of Business Enterprisers for Employment Support proposed by national-level economic organizations and business enterprises, etc. was established in January 2009 to support expansion of employment opportunities for anyone released from penal institutions, etc. In addition, relevant welfare agencies have been active in supporting the reintegration into society of released inmates, etc.
The Ministry of Justice is cooperating in the activities of those private organizations and carrying out systematic publicity work to foster further understanding and cooperation in local communities.