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 White paper on crime 2003 Part 2/Chap.4/Sec.3/2 

2 Prison work

(1) Overview

  Prison work is mainly carried out by inmates sentenced to imprisonment with labor and inmates in workhouses, who are obliged to engage in work. In addition, some voluntary work is also undertaken by inmates sentenced to imprisonment without labor, inmates awaiting trial and others, who are not obliged to engage in work. As of March 31, 2003, 88.7% of the inmates sentenced to imprisonment without labor and 0.3% of the inmates awaiting trial etc. were engaged in voluntary work (Source: Data by Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
  Prison work is one of the important treatments designed for the reform and social rehabilitation of inmates. The primary purpose is to nurture a willingness to work among inmates, teach them vocational knowledge and skills, and develop their endurance and concentration. The forms of prison work are divided, according to their nature and purpose, into production work, vocational training, and work for sustaining institutions. The latter includes work to sustain the operations of the institution, including cooking, laundry, and cleaning (maintenance work), and construction work under direct management such as repair of the institution. Categories in the production work include woodwork, printing, tailoring, metalwork, etc. Inmates are assigned to work in accordance with their individual aptitudes. Outside work is also carried out in outside work sites under the management of the prison and in ordinary work sites with the cooperation of private sector companies. There are 2 forms in outside work-"residential work" for which inmates stay overnight at the work site and "commuting work" for which inmates travel to the work site from the penal institution. The types of work are mainly agriculture or livestock farming, or shipbuilding, etc.

(2) Working conditions

  The working hours of inmates are 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week with Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays off as a rule. To improve the working environment, safety and health, measures are taken in line with the principles of the Labor Standards Law, the Industrial Safety and Health Law, and others.
  In FY 2002, the average daily number of inmates engaged in prison work was about 54,000, and the amount of revenue from prison work was about %8.1 billion (Source: Data by Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
  All revenue from prison work becomes national revenue, and work remuneration is paid to those who engage in the work. The work remuneration is paid as benevolence or encouragement rather than as a wage for labor, and it is in principle paid to an inmate upon release. The (budgeted) average monthly remuneration per inmate in FY 2002 was %4,215 (Source: Data by Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
  Inmates are also allowed to engage in personal work in their spare time under certain conditions to yield income. As of March 31, 2003, 93 inmates were engaged in such work, yielding an average monthly income of %2,020 per inmate (Source: Data by Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

(3) Vocational training

  Vocational training is designed to teach inmates the skills needed for vocations or to improve their already-acquired skills. There are 3 forms of training, namely general training, group training, and internal training. Inmates receive technical training to enable them to obtain official qualifications, licenses or advanced skills, as well as standard training to acquire vocational knowledge and skills that will help them achieve smooth social rehabilitation.
  General training is implemented for eligible inmates, who were selected from institutions nationwide, in 7 designated general training facilities (the Yamagata, Fukui and Yamaguchi Prisons as well as the Hakodate, Kawagoe, Nara and Saga Juvenile Prisons). Group training and internal training are implemented in each Regional Correction Headquarters and in each facility respectively. As of FY 2002, there are 29 group training facilities and 47 internal training facilities (Source: Data by Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
  Vocational training is given on 54 topics, including welding, electrical engineering, car maintenance, construction, plate making up/printing, woodcraft, construction machinery, and nursing services. In FY 2002, 1,952 inmates completed vocational training, while a total of 1,929 inmates obtained qualifications or licenses as welding technicians, electricians, boiler operators, and so forth (Source: Data by Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).