White paper on crime 2012 Part2/Chapter4/Section3/3
Penal institutions can request volunteer visitors to interview inmates and provide them with guidance and advice based on their professional knowledge and experience when needed. The content of that guidance and advice can vary from mental concerns, their families, employment, and future life plans through to hobbies and cultural matters. As of the end of 2011 there were 1,175 volunteer visitors, 424 of whom were specialists in education, literature, and the arts, 140 in rehabilitation services, 84 in law (legal professionals), 252 in religion, commerce and industry, and social welfare, and 275 in other areas. Of the total of 14,279 voluntary visits made in 2011, 7,354 were in regard to hobbies and culture, etc., 3,118 family matters, the law, employment, religion, or rehabilitation, etc., 1,567 mental concerns, and 2,240 other matters (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
Penal institutions have been making efforts to enable inmates to participate in religious ceremonies and receive instruction according to their own personal wishes by requesting chaplains (private religious volunteers) to provide religious ceremonies and instruction (mental relief through sutra recitations and lectures, etc.). As of the end of 2011 there were 1,692 chaplains available, with a total of 9,553 times to groups and 8,293 times to individuals of religious ceremonies and instruction given during the year (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).