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 White paper on crime 2003 Part 2/Chap.4/Sec.3/7 

7 Cooperation from the nongovernmental sector

  Support and cooperation from volunteers in the nongovernmental sectors, including volunteer visitors for inmates and prison chaplains hold an important position in the operations of penal institutions, in particular, for educational activities.

(1) Voluntary visits for inmates

  Voluntary visits for inmates intend to resolve each inmate's worries as well as practical troubles about their families, jobs and future life plans, and other problems. These visits are now firmly established as an important means of treatment. Volunteer visitors are qualified or experienced individuals, religious persons, persons concerned with rehabilitation, who are recommended by the wardens of correctional institutions and commissioned by the Superintendents of Regional Correction Headquarters. They serve for 2 years and may be re-appointed.
  As of December 31, 2002, there were 1,172 volunteer visitors, 206 of which specialized in literary arts, 199 in education, 154 in religion, 140 in rehabilitation, 92 in law (legal profession), 63 in commerce and industry, and 38 in social welfare etc. In 2002, a total of 15,088 voluntary visits were made, 5,040 of which were concerned with education, 3,394 with hobbies, and 1,712 with mental worries (Source: Data by Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
  To enhance voluntary visit activities, the National Federation of Volunteer Visitors for Inmates has been established.

(2) Religious instructions

  Religious instruction is given, at the request of inmates who have religious beliefs, those who seek a religion, and those who have an interest in religion, by nongovernmental religious volunteers (called "prison chaplains"). This instruction includes religious lectures, religious rites and reading of sutras, etc. They are aimed at providing inmates with opportunities to satisfy their religious needs while ensuring their religious freedom.
  As of December 31, 2002, there were 1,510 prison chaplains, and they gave religious services 9,127times to groups and 6,818 times individually (Source: Data by Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
  The National Federation of Prison Chaplains has been established as a national organization of chaplains.