Section 1 Parole

The parole system aims to promote the smooth social reintegration of inmates sentenced to imprisonment with or without work who have demonstrated “genuine repentance” and can be expected to successfully rehabilitate themselves. The system achieves this by releasing those inmates before completion of their term of imprisonment and instead placing them under parole supervision until their term of parole is complete (i.e. for their remaining term of imprisonment).

Parole can be granted to inmates sentenced to imprisonment with or without work after they have served the statutory term, which is 1/3 of the definite imprisonment term or 10 years of a life imprisonment (See Subsection 3, Section 1, Chapter 3, Part 4 for special provisions under the Juvenile Act). Parole is typically only granted to inmates that have demonstrated “genuine repentance.” More concretely, parole can be granted to inmates who have shown signs of remorse for the offense they committed and a willingness to reform and rehabilitate themselves, and evidently no likelihood of repeating an offense, thus making it reasonable to place them under parole supervision for their own reformation and rehabilitation if the general sentiment of society can be deemed to approve that decision. In addition, a system wherein the opinions, etc. of victims, etc. are heard before parole is granted has been enforced since December 1, 2007 (See Subsection 6, Section 1, Chapter 2, Part 5).

Probation offices with jurisdiction over an inmate's post-release abode implement environmental adjustments. Upon receiving an investigative report on the personal affairs of an inmate to be released from a penal institution a probation officer or a volunteer probation officer in charge will inspect the planned post-release abode and arrange for a residence and employment, etc. through interviews with a guarantor in order to ensure that environment is suitable for the rehabilitation of the released inmate. With the elderly or disabled persons that could face difficulties in becoming self-sufficient and that have no residence, adjustments can be made in cooperation with community settlement support centers currently being developed by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare from FY 2009 on in thus enabling them to be admitted to social welfare institutions. The results of these environmental adjustments provide useful data for parole examinations and serves as a basis for the social reintegration of inmates.

The number of persons for whom environmental adjustments were commenced has been increasing over recent years, but did decrease for three consecutive years from 2007, being 41,439 (down 6.2% from the previous year) in 2009 (Source: Annual Report of Statistics on Rehabilitation).