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7 Cooperation from volunteers outside
Support and cooperation from volunteers outside, including volunteer visitors for inmates and prison chaplains, play an extraordinarily important role in the operations of penal institutions, in particular, for educational activities.
(1) Voluntary visits for inmates
Voluntary visits for inmates refers to a system under which private volunteers provide inmates with guidance and advice based on their professional knowledge and experiences. Contents of guidance and advice are wide-ranging, including those on inmates' hobbies, culture, and skills, and those on their mental worries, families, jobs, and future life plans.
As of December 31, 2005, there were 1,151 volunteer visitors, 403 of which specialized in education and literary arts, 127 in rehabilitation services, 82 in law (legal profession), 539 in religion, commerce and industry, and social welfare etc. In 2005, a total of 15,106 voluntary visits were made, 8,202 of which were concerned with hobbies and culture, 2,860 with families and jobs, and 1,799 with mental worries (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).
(2) Religious instructions
Religious instructions are given, at the request of inmates, by prison chaplains (private religious volunteers). They include religious lectures, religious rites and reading of sutras etc., and are aimed at supporting inmates indirectly for fulfilling the purpose of imprisonment by giving them spiritual relief and mental stability, while ensuring their religious freedom.
As of December 31, 2005, there were 1,555 prison chaplains, and they gave religious services 9,016 times to groups and 8,415 times individually (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).