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2 Actual conditions and factors surrounding repeat offenses of theft and Stimulants Control Act violations(1) Theft
a. The research on offenders who had been granted suspension of execution of the sentence revealed that about 30% of theft offenders repeated offenses within four years (See (2) a. of Subsection 2, Section 1, Chapter 3). Theft was the repeat offense in 80% of such cases, showing that repeat offenders for theft tend to repeat theft (See the same paragraph). Repeat theft offenders also tend to use the same modus operandi, particularly in shoplifting cases, and the modus operandi tends to be gradually set as the offenses are repeated (See Fig. 7-3-2-2-3).
b. The modus operandi of theft range widely from shoplifting, luggage theft, theft from a residence while absent, and pick-pocketing. The criminal tendencies of the offenders vary from those thoughtlessly committing relatively minor theft to professional theft. In preventing repeat offenses, appropriate treatment needs to be provided according to the characteristics of the respective offenders, and the differences in modus operandi to be taken into consideration. A few points are noted here on shoplifting.
Although shoplifting is a relatively minor offense, it accounts for a large number of cases (See Table 1-1-1-7). In addition, although quite a few offenders appear not to go on repeat offenses after being disposed as trivial offenses at the police stage or granted suspension of prosecution at the prosecution stage, many others do continue to repeat offenses and are prosecuted and then imprisoned (about 1/3 of subjects of research on offenders granted suspension of execution of the sentence were for shoplifting (See Fig. 7-3-1-2-2); among the subjects of research on inmates, shoplifting accounted for about 1/3 of the males and about 80% of the females (See Fig. 7-3-2-2-2)). As described in a. above, repeat shoplifting offenders are likely to shoplift again and thus they may be regarded as the type of offender with a high risk of repeat offenses. This therefore makes prevention of repeat shoplifting an important issue. When discussing this issue, consideration must be given to the fact that quite a few repeat shoplifting offenders involve the factors related to repeat offenses described in c. and f. below.
c. Theft is a property offense and hence financial instability is obviously a factor in that offense. Examining the percent distribution of inmates by employment status, for example, reveals that the proportion of unemployed persons is high in cases of theft when compared with other offenses, with the proportion increasing with the number of imprisonments (See Fig. 7-2-3-9). According to research on offenders granted suspension of execution of the sentence, the repeat offense rate among those with stable employment was about 19% while that of unemployed about 34% (employment status at the time of the offense committed by the subject research cases) (See Fig. 7-3-1-2-14). These observations confirmed that financial issues were a factor in repeat offenses. In addition, the examination of motives for theft (multiple responses) in the research on inmates also indicated that the number of persons who selected poverty as the cause to be the highest (See Fig. 7-3-2-2-9 and Fig. 7-3-2-2-10).
According to the research on inmates, however, many younger generation males and those who committed theft other than shoplifting repeatedly stole to acquire amusement expenses, while among female second-time inmates for shoplifting the number who selected to save money was the highest, with many others selecting stress relief and habitual theft (See the same figures). As indicated here, attention is needed to the fact that quite a few offenders repeat theft not because they are financially hard pressed, but due to predispositions such as nonstandard behavioral tendencies.
d. As described above, employment status is a significant factor in repeat offenses. The research on offenders granted suspension of execution of the sentence, meanwhile, revealed the repeat offense rate among persons living with their family, etc. to be about 23%, whereas that of persons who were homeless or with no stable residence was about 35% (residential status was at the time of the offense of the subject research cases) (See Fig. 7-3-1-2-13), thus indicating that residential status also serves as a factor of repeat offenses.
Moreover, among those living with their families, no significant difference was observed in the repeat offense rate between those with unstable employment and those with stable employment (See Fig. 7-3-1-2-15). Families therefore seem to serve as a significant preventive factor against repeat offenses.
However, employment does not seem to serve as a significant preventive factor against repeat offenses for anyone living alone unless they have stable employment (See the same figure). Stable employment is considered more important in preventing repeat offenses for offenders without families.
e. According to the research on offenders granted suspension of execution of the sentence, the repeat offense rate of those with pledged supervision was about 20% while that of those without pledged supervision was about 40% (See Fig. 7-3-1-2-16). This indicates that the existence of pledged supervision serves as a significant preventive factor against repeat offenses, although it may be related to the existence of families.
f. In the research on inmates, the results of intelligence tests for males revealed lower scores for shoplifting offenders when compared with offenders with other modus operandi. For both males and females, the rate of persons with some kind of mental disorder was higher among shoplifting offenders than among offenders of other modus operandi (See (2) a. of Subsection 2, Section 2, Chapter 3). Attention needs to be paid to these dispositional factors.
(2) Stimulants Control Act violations
a. Research on offenders granted suspension of execution of the sentence revealed that about 30% of research subjects for Stimulants Control Act violations repeated offenses within four years and that over 80% of these repeat offenses were Stimulants Control Act violations (See (2) a. of Subsection 3, Section 1, Chapter 3), thus indicating that stimulants offenders tend to repeat the same type of offense.
b. Since the purpose of using stimulants is to obtain their pharmacological effect, the severity of psychological dependence on stimulants can be considered to be the most significant factor of repeat offenses.
The research on inmates also indicated that the tendency to repeat offenses is high among persons taking strong pleasure in the pharmacological effect of stimulants, and those who lack self-control, etc. (See Fig. 7-3-2-3-11 through Fig. 7-3-2-3-14). In addition, those with a high level of dependence on stimulants because of frequent use, or who recommence their use after a short time (See Fig. 7-3-2-3-5 and Fig. 7-3-2-3-6), tend to remain highly dependent on them thereafter.
c. The research on inmates revealed that the age at which they first started using stimulants was lower for second-time inmates than first-time inmates (See Fig. 7-3-2-3-3). In addition, the proportion of offenders with a history of organic-solvents (paint-thinner, etc.) abuse proved significant (See Fig. 7-3-2-3-10). This then indicates that anyone who started using stimulants at a young age or with a history of organic solvents abuse would be likely to repeat offenses and be reimprisoned subsequently.
d. The research on inmates also revealed being tempted by friends/acquaintances, etc. to be a cause of stimulants use in a significant number of cases (See Fig. 7-3-2-3-7). In addition, according to the research on offenders granted suspension of execution of the sentence, although over 1/3 of females had accomplices, the repeat offense rate for Stimulants Control Act violations within four years for females who did not have an accomplice was about 15%, while that of females who did have accomplices was about 30% (See Fig. 7-3-1-3-8). This revealed the reality of the situation where relationships with friends/acquaintances might serve as a significant factor of repeat offenses.
e. According to the research on offenders of Stimulants Control Act violations granted suspension of execution of the sentence, residential status and employment status can also serve as factors that affect the possibility of repeating offenses. However, the effect of employment status on the possibility of repeat offenses is limited, as variations in the repeat offense rate among various residential status were small when compared to theft (See Fig. 7-3-1-3-9) and the risk of repeat offenses was large, regardless of employment status, if residential status was unstable (See Fig. 7-3-1-3-11).
However, according to the research on offenders granted suspension of execution of the sentence, the repeat offense rate for Stimulants Control Act violations within four years was 19% among persons with pledged supervision but remarkably high at about 45% among persons without pledged supervision (See Fig. 7-3-1-3-12), thus indicating that the existence of pledged supervision might serve as a significant preventive factor against repeat offenses.