PART 7 Actual Situation and Treatment concerning Serious Offenders

Responding to serious offenses that have a quite serious impact on victims, for example homicide, robbery, and rape, etc., is an important issue in criminal policy in thereby maintaining public security. The situation with the occurrence of serious offenses has not actually been worsening in recent years, but there is no room for any optimism either as the number of reported homicide cases has remained around the same number, and that of robbery at a high level and actually turned to an increasing trend in 2009. This is considered to be one of the causes that social unrest over public safety has not been improving.

Analyzing/examining the actual situation and causes of crimes is important in considering countermeasures against crime, and the treatment of offenders needs to be carried out after taking this into consideration. Serious offenses vary with different cases, for example homicide may have been committed with the aim of obtaining insurance money or due to exhaustion from nursing care, but in contrast to that many persons who commit serious offenses do generally have significant dispositional problems. Serious offenders are therefore considered to have diverse and serious problems and thus their treatment needs to take place after having appropriately identified their problems and to reform them not to repeat offense and to be reintegrated into society to play a useful role in society.

Because of this point of view the featured article in this edition of the White Paper on Crime aims to provide useful basic data for use in discussing improving the treatment of serious offenders by clarifying the actual situation with serious offenders and analyzing the factors that led to their reformation/rehabilitation or to repeating offenses.

This featured article has the following structure.

Chapter 1 discusses the actual situation with the occurrence of serious offenses, as based on various statistical data, etc., with the actual situation with their treatment and the status of repeat offenses, etc. then being analyzed.

Chapter 2 analyzes the actual situation with serious offenses, based on a special study conducted by the Research and Training Institute of the Ministry of Justice on persons imprisoned for serious offenses and released in the first half of 2000, with matters that require attention in treatment then being discussed. More concretely, the characteristics, etc. of serious offenses committed by the research subjects are analyzed in Section 1, the actual condition of treatment at the stages of correction and parole supervision outlined in Section 2, and then, through a follow-up study on whether they repeated offenses over 10 years after being released from a penal institution, Section 3 analyzes the factors involved in repeat offenses by comparing repeat offenders and those who did not, etc. In addition, Section 4 presents some cases of persons who were imprisoned for serious offenses but were considered to have reformed/rehabilitated themselves after being released on parole.

Chapter 3 reviews the characteristics of treatment of serious offenders. Treatment that aims to reform/rehabilitate offenders and reintegrate them back into society has been improved in recent years under the Penal Detention Facilities Act and the Offenders Rehabilitation Act, with treatment that had not been available to the subjects of the abovementioned special study released from penal institutions by June 2000 but now being implemented. That is also included as the currently available treatment.

The analysis made in Chapters 1 and 2 etc., and assuming the treatment of serious offenders presented in Chapter 3, is used in summarizing the prospect of further improving the treatment of serious offenders in Chapter 4.

In this Part “serious offenses” will be used to refer to homicide, injury causing death, robbery, rape, and arson. In addition, “violent offenses” will be used to refer to injury (excluding injury causing death), assault, intimidation, unlawful assembly with weapons, and Physical Violence Act violations, and “property offenses” to theft, fraud, extortion, embezzlement (including embezzlement of lost property, etc.), and offenses related to stolen property, etc., unless specified otherwise.