2 Treatment of probationers/parolees

(1) Treatment providers

Probation/parole supervision usually takes place in cooperation between the probation officer and volunteer probation officer assigned to each probationer/parolee. Probation officers supervise multiple probationers/parolees. At the commencement of probation/parole supervision, a probation officer interviews the probationer/parolee in thereby raising his/her reformation/rehabilitation motivation and formulates an individual treatment plan that outlines the objectives of the treatment and methods of the instruction, supervision, guidance, and assistance, based on the results of interviews and the relevant records, etc. Volunteer probation officers provide one or a few probationers/parolees with instruction and assistance in accordance with the treatment plan by contacting them and their families, etc. through interviews and visits, etc. The progress of their treatment is then reported by the volunteer probation officer to the director of the probation office every month. The probation officer, in cooperation with the volunteer probation officer, then makes necessary adjustments according to the changes in the situation of each probationer/parolee by interviewing him/her or related persons.

(2) Conditions for probation/parole supervision and life and conduct guidelines

As described above, the conditions for probation/parole supervision include general conditions to apply to all probationers/parolees and special conditions specified for individual probationers/parolees.

The content of the general conditions for probation/parole supervision includes: [1] maintaining a sound life attitude, [2] being sincere under their probation/parole supervision by accepting visits and obeying summons of the probation officer or volunteer probation officer, [3] having a fixed residence and notifying the relevant authority of it (excluding the case of being released on parole), [4] residing in their officially recorded residence (or the residence specified when parole was granted in the case of being released on parole), and [5] obtaining permission in advance to leave the residence due to moving, etc.

Special conditions for probation/parole supervision are concretely specified to the extent deemed necessary for the reformation/rehabilitation of the probationer/parolee and include: [1] prohibiting certain acts that can lead to offenses or delinquencies, [2] performing/continuing certain acts deemed necessary to maintain a sound life attitude, [3] reporting certain matters concerning his/her life or personal affairs that are considered important and thus need to be identified in advance to provide appropriate instruction and supervision, and [4] taking specialistic treatment program (See (3) b. (b)) for improving certain criminal tendency, etc. Special conditions for probation/parole supervision are specified for probationers/parolees for whom following those conditions is considered necessary at the commencement of their probation/parole supervision or at any time according to the status of their probation/parole supervision. Any of the conditions which become unnecessary, however, can then be deleted.

In addition to the conditions for probation/parole supervision, life and conduct guidelines for use in improving their lifestyles and relationships with friends/acquaintances can also be specified for probationers/parolees. They are informed of the guidelines and conditions for their probation/parole supervision which are the basis of their guidance.

(3) Measures for providing treatment

Treatment needs to be provided according to the circumstances of the individual probationers/parolees. The treatment has also been improved through the use of various measures that are mainly based on graduated treatment in which those with a severe problem are provided with more intensive instruction and supervision and categorized treatment to ensure more effective and efficient treatment by providing it in accordance with the category of problems that the individual probationers/parolees have.

a. Graduated treatment

Graduated treatment is a system which classifies probationers/parolees into one of four different treatment levels according to their progress in reformation/rehabilitation, their probability of repeating offenses, and their necessity for guidance and assistance, etc., and which is used to provide treatment differing levels of involvement and frequency of contact of probation officers in accordance with the level they belong to.

Parolees sentenced to life imprisonment or long-term imprisonment (refers to imprisonment for 10 years or more; hereinafter the same in this subsection) face various difficulties in reintegrating themselves back into society and hence are classified into the highest level for the first year after their release and provided with substantial treatment involving multiple probation officers, if necessary.

b. Categorized treatment, etc. according to the category of problems of probationers/parolees

(a) Categorized treatment and treatment for specified violent offenders

Some probationers/parolees fall into a typical problem category such as being dependent on drugs or organized crime group members, etc. and hence their treatment needs to be focused on solving those problems. There are also probationers/parolees who are junior high school students or elderly persons, etc. and whose treatment needs to take their environmental conditions into particular consideration. It must be the most effective/efficient way to make the methods that some probation officers or volunteer probation officers have ever used to resolve the problems of the probationers/parolees known as the available accumulated experiences to all the probation officers and volunteer probation officers, to enable them to utilize the accumulated experiences in the course of the treatment to resolve the present problems the probationers/parolees that they are taking charge of have. Under this system probationers/parolees with one of the typical problems are categorized into a problem category and thus provided with effective treatment according to their problems in accordance with treatment guidelines and matters requiring attention systematized according to the accumulated common experiences. Some probation offices provide probationers/parolees with treatment through group education (seminars, etc. to enhance the employability of those categorized as “unemployed, etc.”) and all probation offices provide lectures for custodians and guarantors, etc. of inmates categorized as “stimulant offender” or those dependent on drugs (guarantor association).

Table 2-5-2-5 shows the number of probationers/parolees by major treatment categories as of the end of 2011.

Table 2-5-2-5 Number of probationers/parolees by major treatment categories (as of December 31, 2011)

Table 2-5-2-5

Probationers/parolees who repeated violent offenses and were categorized as either of being abusers of paint-thinners, etc., stimulant offenders, problematic drinkers, persons associated with organized crime groups, persons with mental disorders, etc., or persons who committed family violence or who committed extremely serious violent offenses are designated as specified violent offenders for whom the treatment is particularly difficult and who are therefore classified into the high levels of the graduated treatment. In their treatment, probation officers frequently interview them or their families and carefully identify their living situation and immediately provide them with guidance to solve the problems. In addition, the treatment focuses on solving the problems that led them to being designated as specified violent offenders (support for withdrawing from organized crime groups or advice on medical treatment for drug dependencies at medical institutions or participation in self-help groups for giving up alcohol, etc.) in cooperation with the relevant agencies.

(b) Specialistic treatment programs

Probationers/parolees with certain criminal tendencies are provided with treatment through systematized methods that have been developed based on specialistic knowledge, including psychology, etc., and cognitive behavioral therapy theories (psychotherapy to facilitate a change in the behavioral patterns of the subjects by enabling them to recognize their own distorted way of thinking (cognition)) as specialistic treatment programs.

There are four specialistic treatment programs, namely a sexual offender treatment program, a stimulant offender treatment program, a violence prevention program, and a drunken driving prevention program.

Among probationers/parolees, those categorized as “sexual offenders” (limited to males), personal users of stimulants (limited to those with a strong tendency to repeat drug use with probationers), repeated committers of violent offenses, or persons with a tendency to repeat drunken driving are obliged to receive treatment through these specialistic treatment programs by a special condition for their probation/parole supervision. In addition to the above, specialistic treatment programs can also apply to probationers/parolees on a voluntary basis.

The specialistic treatment programs involve probation officers interviewing probationers/parolees a total of five times and aiding them to think about their own problems (distorted cognition, lack of self-control, etc.) by having them fill in worksheets or providing them with guidance on methods of avoiding committing any further offenses again through role-playing (a method of having them act according to the assigned role in cases selected from familiar scenes to make them understand desirable behavioral patterns), etc. For example, the sexual offender treatment program provides sexual offenders with instructions that help them to think about concrete methods of not repeating sexual offenses as action plans by aiding them to analyze their behavior at the time they committed a sexual offense and to think about how they could have controlled the behavior which led them to committing it at some stages before actually committing the offense, and thereby facilitating their distorted cognition of thinking that “I have to accept my inability to repress my sexual desires” to be corrected. The stimulant offender treatment program is combined with quick screen drug tests (tests used to estimate if any stimulants have been used through urine tests or saliva tests which utilize simple reagents). Quick screen drug tests can also be used with probationers/parolees that have a tendency to repeat stimulant use but who are not obliged to receive treatment through the stimulant offender treatment program or who have completed such treatment if necessary to maintain their willpower to stop using stimulants, etc. on a voluntary basis.

Parolees who have received “guidance on prevention of repeat sexual offenses” or been subjected to “alcohol dependence treatment program” or “drug dependence treatment program” at penal institutions are provided with guidance in a consistent manner with the results of the implementation of the guidance/programs at the respective penal institutions.

The number of persons that newly started receiving treatment through specialistic treatment programs in 2011 was 850 (552 parolees and 298 probationers) with the sexual offender treatment program, 1,344 (926 and 418 (id.)) with the stimulant offender treatment program (excluding those that received treatment through the stimulant offender treatment program on a voluntary basis), 259 (152 and 107 (id.)) with the violence prevention program, and 424 (298 and 126 (id.)) with the drunken driving prevention program. The number of cases of quick drug screen tests taken on a voluntary basis in 2011 was 7,741 (Source: The Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

(c) Atonement guidance program

Probationers/parolees that committed offenses that resulted in the death of or serious injury to their victims are provided with treatment through an atonement guidance program and guidance to make them compensate victims in a sincere manner with consideration to the victim’s own wishes.

Parolees that have taken part in “education with the victims’ point of view” (See (2) of Subsection 3, Section 2, Chapter 4) at a penal institution are provided with guidance with consideration to the results of the education.

(4) Interim treatment system

For most parolees sentenced to life imprisonment or long-term imprisonment, a gradual reintegration back into society is the most appropriate. They are therefore provided with interim treatment, if necessary, and if they are willing, in which they live at halfway houses and are provided with living guidance, etc. by specialized advisers for the first month after being released. Interim treatment was implemented for 95 parolees in 2011 (Source: The Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

(5) Employment support

A stable living foundation through employment is considered very important for the social reintegration of released inmates, etc. and hence employment guidance has been emphasized in the treatment under probation/parole supervision. The Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, has been implementing comprehensive employment support measures for released inmates, etc. since FY 2006 in thereby helping them to secure employment. In addition to the support, at penal institutions and juvenile training schools (See (6) of Subsection 2, Section 2, Chapter 4 and (2) of Subsection 2, Section 4, Chapter 2, Part 3), probation offices utilize employment support teams that consist of probation office and public employment security office staff members, who select the most appropriate support methods and content and provide each subject with vocational counseling and job placement services at public employment security offices. In addition, seminars, tours of work sites, and hands-on experience at workplaces are provided to enhance the employability of the subject persons, and support utilizing the guarantor system and trial employment system to facilitate employment by business enterprises is also implemented. Through these support systems, over 2,700 persons were employed in FY 2011 (Source: The Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

(6) Social contribution activities

Social contribution activities have been implemented since FY 2011 as part of the treatment under probation/parole supervision and in thereby helping them to acquire a sense of self-efficacy and develop greater moral awareness, along with the ability to adapt to society through continued participation in social activities which benefit their local society, and which include cleaning activities at public places and care assistant activities at welfare facilities. The subjects are typically those for whom treatment through these activities is deemed effective and who have agreed to participate in the activities, for example those who have not been employed or attended school and those who have repeatedly committed relatively minor delinquencies or offences and are therefore deemed to be lacking the moral awareness, etc. In many cases the activities are implemented in anticipation of more effective treatment through communicating with others and in cooperation with members of the Women’s Associations for Rehabilitation Aid and BBS associations, etc. In FY 2011 the activities were implemented 266 times in total with a total of 625 persons participated in them (Source: The Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

(7) National Centers for Offender Rehabilitation

National Centers for Offender Rehabilitation were established as institutions that aim to help parolees and juvenile training school parolees, etc., for whom their relatives, etc. and private halfway houses are unable to prepare an environment necessary for their smooth reintegration into society, not to repeat offenses and to become independent. The centers accommodate them at facilities attached to probation offices and provide them with intensive instruction/supervision along with substantial employment support by probation officers. As national centers for offender rehabilitation that provide focused/specialistic treatment for parolees according to their specific problems, including their criminal tendency, the National Center for Offender Rehabilitation in Kitakyushu (capacity of 14 males) commenced operation in June 2009 and the National Center for Offender Rehabilitation in Fukushima (capacity of 20 males) in August 2010. In addition, as employment support centers that mainly provide agricultural vocational training, the National Center for Offender Job Training and Employment Support in Numata-cho (Hokkaido) for juvenile training school parolees, etc. (capacity of 12 males) commenced operation in October 2007 and the National Center for Offender Job Training and Employment Support in Ibaraki for parolees, etc. (capacity of 12 males) in September 2009.