2 Work

(1) Overview

Inmates sentenced to imprisonment with work are legally obliged to work (the same applying to fine defaulters at workhouse). In addition, voluntary work can also be undertaken by inmates sentenced to imprisonment without work or anyone sentenced to misdemeanor imprisonment without work upon request. The average daily number of inmates that engaged in work in FY 2009 was 64,421. As of March 31, 2010, 90.2% of inmates sentenced to imprisonment without work were engaged in voluntary work (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

(2) Content of work, etc.

Inmates can take vocational training as part of work or engage in production work (woodwork, printing, tailoring, metalwork, etc.) or work that sustains the actual institution (cooking, cleaning, care assistance, maintenance of facilities, etc.) as general work. Inmates are typically assigned to a specific work category in accordance to their individual aptitude and with consideration given to their individual wishes.

Work mostly tales place within the penal institution but can also be carried out at external work sites managed by the penal institution. In addition, a system implemented in cooperation with private enterprises is also in place in which inmates can commute to external work sites without having to be accompanied by officials from the penal institution to then engage in work (or take part in vocational training) there onsite.

(3) Work conditions

The total hours spent on correctional guidance (See next subsection), including guidance for reform and work, is, in principle, limited to a maximum of eight hours a day. No work takes place on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, and year-end and new-year holidays, etc., apart from work that needs to be done on a daily basis such as cooking.

Work safety and the inmates' health are secured in accordance with the Industrial Safety and Health Act, etc.

(4) Incentive remuneration, etc.

Any revenue gained from the inmates' work belongs to the national treasury. The amount of revenue resulting from the inmates working in FY 2009 was approximately 4.7 billion yen (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

Incentive remuneration, however, is also paid to inmates according to the work they engage in when they are released, in principle. The amount allocated for incentive remuneration (budget) in FY 2009 was an average of 4,351 yen per month per person (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice). Examining the amount of incentive remuneration paid to inmates released in 2009 revealed that 21.8% of them received more than 50,000 yen and 25.5% 10,000 yen or less (Source: Annual Report of Statistics on Correction).

(5) Vocational training

Vocational training is provided at penal institutions to inmates in enabling them to acquire knowledge and skills that will be useful in gaining employment. There are three types of vocational training, namely general training, group training, and internal training. General training is available to 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 basically available at each Regional Correction Headquarters while internal training is available 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 in ensuring they match the needs of employers. New courses in telecommunications facilities, interior construction, and construction painting were added in FY 2009. In the same fiscal year 30 vocational training subjects, including welding, car maintenance, and home care, and the above mentioned new courses, were available, with 2,352 inmates having completed their vocational training and a total of 4,383 inmates obtaining qualifications or licenses to be welding technicians, electricians, auto mechanics, etc. (excluding vocational training at penal institutions utilizing the PFI method) (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

(6) Employment support

Since FY 2006 the Ministry of Justice has had employment support staff members in place at penal institutions and juvenile training schools and has in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare been implementing comprehensive employment support measures in securing employment for inmates, etc. after their release. These measures center around the establishment of a system in which penal institutions, juvenile training schools, probation offices, and public employment security offices can cooperate in systematically providing employment support according to the desires and aptitudes of those subject to support, etc. Part of those measures include vocational counseling, job placements, and vocational lectures, etc. being implemented by public employment security office staff members at penal institutions.