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2 Probationary supervision
Juveniles placed on probation include juvenile offenders placed on probation by a decision of a family court (juvenile probationers) and juveniles released on parole from juvenile training schools by a decision of Regional Parole Boards (juvenile parolees). Guidance, supervision, and support are provided for both types of juveniles in order to improve and rehabilitate them through ordinary social life. The organizations in charge of probationary supervision are 50 probation offices located nationwide. Probation officers who are national government officials and volunteer probation officers who are nongovernmental volunteers commissioned by the Minister of Justice actually implement guidance, supervision and support. In many cases, probationary supervision is carried out through guidance, supervision, and support for individual juvenile probationers and juvenile parolees based on cooperation between probation officers with expertise in rehabilitation services and volunteer probation officers with knowledge on the circumstances in the community.
Juveniles placed on probation due to robbery offenses are provided with the following treatment to solve problems as pointed out above.
(1) Setting of special conditions of probationary supervision
Conditions of probationary supervision include special conditions of probationary supervision in which the conditions necessary for individual juvenile probationers and parolees are set individually and specifically, in addition to statutory conditions of probationary supervision, which are applied to all juvenile probationers and parolees. Special conditions for juvenile probationers are determined by the directors of probation offices while those for juvenile parolees are determined by Regional Parole Boards. In general, the clauses set are those encouraging juvenile probationers and parolees to make efforts to eliminate situations that trigger repeat offenses and stabilize their lives, as well as a clause prohibiting repeat delinquency. More specifically, the following clauses are set for juvenile robbery offenders: "not conducting an act of robbing of money or articles with violence" as a clause prohibiting a repeat offense, "severing relations with bosozoku," and "being careful about relationship with friends and not being tempted by bad offers" as clauses related to elimination of the situation triggering a repeat offense, and "getting a regular job and working hard" and "establishing a firm life goal and making efforts to achieve that goal" as clauses encouraging efforts for a stable life. These conditions of probationary supervision serve as the goals of guidance and supervision for probation officers and volunteer probation officers and also serve as life guidelines and behavioral norms for juveniles placed on probation.
(2) Classified treatment system
Classified treatment is a system whereby juvenile probationers and parolees are divided into "Class A" or "Class B," depending on the difficulty of their treatment. Under this system, "Class A" juvenile probationers and parolees who are judged to have a number of problems and to be difficult to treat receive further direct treatment by probation officers. Juvenile robbery offenders are classified into "Class A" if they have serious problems and thus are expected to be difficult to treat. They are provided with active treatment from the very beginning of probationary supervision, including regular appearance in probation offices and frequent visit to their homes.
(3) Categorized treatment system
Categorized treatment is a system whereby the problems and characteristics of juvenile probationers and parolees are divided into categories to understand and efficient treatment is carried out focusing on the common problems among juvenile probationers and parolees under each category. Juvenile robbery offenders are classified into each category and provided with organized and systematic treatment if categorized treatment according to their problems and characteristics is considered to be suitable for them. Categories relating to juveniles are junior high school students, unemployed juveniles, etc., bosozoku, and so on. For junior high school students, probation offices try to provide treatment in close cooperation with the junior high schools in which they are enrolled.
(4) Social participation activities
Social participation activities mainly involve the participation of juvenile probationers and parolees in volunteer work, such as cleaning activities in welfare facilities, parks, etc. Chapter 4 (Special Survey) points out that juvenile robbery offenders rarely have a sense of belonging in society and that many of them have a problem of "lacking consideration for others except their loved ones and imaginative ability." However, the promotion of participation in such volunteer work is expected to provide them with opportunities to have experience in doing things beneficial to society and a sense of accomplishment as well as to acquire empathy with and consideration for others.
Juvenile was made to participate in volunteer activities for improvement of his self-image
The juvenile was at 16 years old at the time of being received by a probation office. The juvenile was enticed by the members of the particular bosozoku gang to which he belonged. He thought that he would be targeted by them if he would not follow them, and thus called out to a juvenile riding a motorcycle and robbed him of money or articles at night. The juvenile was committed to a juvenile training school, and after that, he was provisionally discharged from the juvenile training school. The juvenile himself also received damage by assault before then and thus lacked self-confidence. Therefore, treatment under probationary supervision was carried out by making the juvenile set an achievable goal and accumulate successful experience through vocational guidance on cooking, which is in line with the interests of the juvenile, as well as by making the juvenile participate in volunteer activities, with the aim of giving the juvenile self-confidence and a good self-image.
(5) Guidance on relationship with friends
Association with delinquent friends is often pointed out as a cause and background of delinquency. According to the special survey mentioned above, about 90% of juveniles committed robbery offenses with others. In addition, a problem was pointed out that many of them are those "who become exuberant in groups" and those "who fall in with thinking of the people around them." There are wide-ranging relationships with friends, which will cause delinquency, such as bosozoku, groups based on the junior high school from which juveniles graduated or to which they go, groups forming gangs such as "teams" and "color gangs," and less cohesive groups hanging around in downtown areas, consisting of juveniles who know each other only by face or name. Therefore, guidance is carried out according to the characteristics of the groups at the scene of treatment under probationary supervision. Needless to say, probation offices make efforts understand the actual living conditions through active visits. In addition, probation offices try to understand the actual conditions of the target juveniles by gathering information from the police and other related organizations and conducting information exchange among volunteer probation officers in charge. Having regular conversations with juveniles under probation and their guardians about the specific ways of refusing calls from delinquent friends and instructing them to dispose of motorcycles, etc. and change cell-phone e-mail addresses may have some effect. In some cases, families choose to move to other places to sever association with delinquent friends, but juveniles may lose their place and seek for other associations with delinquent friends or may revive former associations with delinquent friends. Therefore, in such case, advice and guidance are given about the building of sound new relationships with friends, the utilization of leisure time, the setting of specific achievable goals and efforts to achieve the goals. In some cases, "friendship activities" are carried out to ensure that juveniles experience sound relationships with friends by requesting BBS associations. BBS associations are voluntary organizations that assist in the prevention of delinquency by relating to juveniles from the position of young people.
BBS association used to achieve more sound relationship with friends
The juvenile was at 16 years old at the time of being received by a probation office. The juvenile committed "robbery targeting a middle aged man," that is, robbing an adult man of money or articles at midnight, in conspiracy with friends who play with him in downtown, in want of money for entertainment expenses. At the time of committing the offense in question, the juvenile was a high school student but often did not go to school. The juvenile had led a life centering on playing in downtown at night. Therefore, the probation office encouraged the juvenile to participate in a group work by a BBS association to improve relationships with friends.
Juvenile made participate in a local festival for the sound utilization of leisure time
The juvenile was at 16 years old at the time of being received by a probation office. The juvenile was enticed by school friends saying that they could rob a man of money or articles by doing oyajigari (literally, old man hunting; committing robbery targeting middle-aged men). However, they could not find an appropriate man to be their target so they robbed a passing woman of money. In this case, the juvenile had led a life that was focused around hanging around in downtown areas with close school friends, and was involved in the offense due to a desire to obtain money for entertainment expenses. After the start of probationary supervision, the juvenile was encouraged to improve relationships with friends and to spend leisure time in a sound way through participation in activities, such as in a local festival carrying a mikoshi (portable shrine). The juvenile showed a desire to adapt himself to the local community.
(6) Guidance on work and schooling
The special survey mentioned above pointed out that only a few of the target juveniles had belonged to and adapted themselves to school or work. In probationary supervision, probation offices make efforts to understand the backgrounds and causes of inability to adapt to school or work through surveys on the actual conditions of unemployment, neglect of work duty, and truancy. There are various backgrounds and causes thereof, including, for example, dissatisfaction with the nature of one's work and treatment at work, inability to adapt to relationships with others at work, a lifestyle focusing on having fun at night and sleeping during the day, irregular living habits, association with delinquent friends, orientation toward entertainment, and a hedonic value sense. In light of these problems, juvenile probationers and parolees are motivated in work and schooling through conversations about future dreams, life planning, and specific, immediate goals for achievement thereof in line with the interests of the target juveniles.
Person outside family requested for cooperation
The juvenile was at 16 years old at the time of being received by a probation office. The juvenile was ordered by local friends to keep watch when they robbed a juvenile who was riding a motorcycle in a manner imitating that of a bosozoku member of money or articles at night. As the juvenile had continued to lead an easy life without experiencing work after graduating from junior high school, he increased his association with local delinquent friends who were in a similar position to him of being without work and lacking money. He became involved in this offense due to the idea that they would try to get revenge on him if he refused to be involved. His family consists of him and his father, who is a truck driver. Since the father cannot keep a close eye on the juvenile, the probation office positioned the uncle and aunt of the juvenile, who live nearby, as supporters and exercised supervision over the juvenile. Gradually, the father came to show a desire to exercise supervision on juvenile. For example, the father brings the juvenile with him in his truck as his assistant when he drives the truck for his job.
(7) Family adjustment
The special survey mentioned above pointed out that many of the target juveniles had both biological parents but that their guardians lacked the ability to guide them and interaction with them. There are various problems. For example, family members know nothing about the acts and friends of the target juveniles, or try to cover up the problematic behavior of the target juveniles to protect them, or in contrast, family members try to leave guidance on the target juveniles fully to probation officers and volunteer probation officers. It is important to ensure that family members recognize that the problems of the target juveniles, including delinquent acts, are those of all family members and to position the family members as the primary supervisors of the target juveniles. In actual treatment, however, there are considerable cases in which family members have been at a complete loss and have become exhausted due to the delinquency and problematic behavior of the juvenile in question. In such case, probation offices take the worries and feelings of the family members and provide moral support to back up the family members' willingness to exercise supervision.
Improvement of family functions was aimed at through approach to parents
The juvenile was at 17 years old at the time of being received by a probation office. Along with the members of the particular bosozoku gang to which he belonged, he committed "robbery targeting juveniles pretending to be a member of bosozoku," that is, conducting violence against a juvenile who was riding a motorcycle in a manner like that of a bosozoku member or robbing such juvenile of money or articles. The juvenile was unemployed at the time of committing the offense, and his life was focused around association with bosozoku. After the start of probationary supervision, the probation office continued to provide his parents with guidance and advice encouraging them to make efforts to support the juvenile, such as increasing the amount of time spent with him by eating meals together and preparing packed lunches for the juvenile after he started employment, with the aim of ensuring that the juvenile withdraws from the bosozoku and continues to work
(8) Guidance related to victims
At the stage of probationary supervision, juveniles are guided so as to sincerely provide compensationfor damage based on the understanding of the status of compensation for damage reached up to the stage of investigation and trial. In the case of juvenile offenders, guardians actually perform compensation for damage in many cases. However, in the case that guardians have already compensated for damage, probation offices give guidance to make juveniles recognize compensation for damage as their own problem by instructing them to repay the amount of compensation for damage to guardians with money gained from their labors on a regular basis.
Juvenile was promoted to be aware of the responsibility for compensation for damage
The juvenile was at 17 years old at the time of being received by a probation office. Being tempted by local friends, the juvenile argued with the victim juvenile about driving a motorcycle at night, robbed the victim of money or articles and injured the victim. Immediately after committing the offense, the juvenile had poor awareness of being a perpetrator, saying "I was just enticed to do it by friends." Therefore, the probation office instructed the juvenile to keep a distance from his former friends by disposing of his motorcycle and changing his cell-phone e-mail address. In addition, the probation office advised the juvenile to repay on a monthly basis the amount of compensation for damage paid by his parents from money gained from his part-time job, and encouraged the juvenile to improve relationships with friends and be aware of his responsibility to compensate for the damage.