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 White paper on crime 2006 Part 6/Chapter 3/Section 5/2 

2 Recommendations

  The Advisory Committee requested review and improvement of the overall rehabilitation system in accordance with the above-mentioned direction of the reform. It offered concrete recommendations in order to fundamentally enhance the rehabilitation system's function to prompt offenders' rehabilitation and prevent repeat offenses without damaging good points of the current system based on public-private cooperation, and thereby realize strict probationary supervision responding to general public's expectation. Major contents of problems referred to as urgent are as follows.

(1) Enhancement of probationary supervision

a. Enhancing contents of probationary treatment and ensuring the effectiveness

  An act should provide (1) the obligation that a probationer/parolee must take a scientific and systematic treatment program according to his/her personal problems, (2) the obligation that a probationer/parolee for offenses related to stimulants must take a primary stimulant urine test, (3) the obligation that a certain probationer/parolee must stay in a designated place for a specified period and the fact that special parole conditions can be added or changed according to changes to circumstances during probationary supervision.

b. Increasing contacts with probationers/parolees

  An act should provide the obligation that a probationer/parolee must keep contact with a probation officer and a volunteer probation officer, receive interviews with them and clearly explain his/her daily life to them.

c. Establishing a special treatment division that strengthens direct involvement of probation officers

  In order to prevent serious repeat offenses, a special treatment division should be established to strengthen direct involvement of probation officers with regard to persons who need intensified probationary supervision, such as through providing treatment programs depending on each person's problems.

d. Appropriately implementing measures such as revocation of parole (so-called bad-conduct measures)

  Parole conditions should be reviewed and measures such as revocation of parole (so-called bad-conduct measures) should be taken for a person who violates parole conditions and is unlikely to improve through probationary supervision.

e. Strengthening job assistance and settlement assistance

  Comprehensive job assistance measures should be further enhanced in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. At the same time, cooperative employers, which are only about 6,000 entities at present, should be increased by at least three-fold by strengthening collaboration with private economic organizations.

f. Strengthening collaboration with related agencies and sharing information

  Rehabilitation offices should actively utilize information collected at each stage of investigation, trial, and correction by strengthening collaboration with related criminal justice agencies. Furthermore, collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare and local public entities should be strengthened so as to promote smooth rehabilitation of persons with difficulties in leading social life, such as the aged and the mentally disabled.

(2) Improvement in operation of the probationary supervision system for those granted suspension of execution of sentence

  Those granted suspension of execution of sentence under probationary supervision often never appear at a probation office or do appear but do not follow the instruction to set a residence and disappear before the determination of the final judgment. Responding to such facts and in order to improve the present situation where probation offices hesitate to apply for the revocation of suspension of execution of sentence, efforts should be made to deepen understanding of the three elements of the judicial community about rehabilitation and promote mutual understanding between courts, public prosecutors offices, bar associations, and probation offices.

(3) Review on parole

a. Improving the operation

  The operation of the system should be improved by selecting appropriate candidates. For those who are suitable for external treatment in society, full consideration should be paid in deciding the timing of parole and early parole should be granted to ensure necessary and sufficient parole supervision for their smooth reintegration into society. In contrast, for those who are unwilling to rehabilitate themselves, the criteria for parole should be tightened.

b. Revising the criteria

  In order to respond to criticism that the criteria for granting parole are unclear, it should be discussed to revise the criteria.

c. Appointing private intellectuals as members of regional rehabilitation committees

  In order to enhance the fairness, accuracy, and transparency of examination on parole, intellectuals from the private sector should be actively appointed as members of regional rehabilitation committees. Furthermore, specialized knowledge of intellectuals in various fields such as specialists in psychiatry and clinical psychology, social welfare staff, and lawyers should be utilized in examining whether or not to grant parole.

d. Handling opinions of victims appropriately

  Concrete measures and procedures should be clarified to hear opinions of crime victims, etc. in examination on parole. When hearing opinions, how they are handled by the regional rehabilitation committee should be disclosed to the crime victims, etc. with reasons attached.

e. Involvement of inmates

  When an inmate applies for the commencement of examination on his/her parole to a regional rehabilitation committee, the committee should discuss the commencement of examination under its authority, and when they decide to dismiss the application, they should notify reasons to the inmate. Deliberations should be conducted on the possibility that such expansion of inmates' involvement into examination would further contribute to the future rehabilitation of inmates.

(4) Restructuring of staff related to the rehabilitation system

a. Clarifying division of roles of probation officers and volunteer probation officers

  In order to avoid overdependence on volunteer probation officers and enable both probation officers and volunteer probation officers to take advantage of their respective characteristics and implement enhanced treatment, the scopes of probation officers' responsibility, duties, and functions should be clarified and divide the roles of probation officers and volunteer probation officers clearly. Furthermore, probation officers should enhance guidance on probationary supervision for volunteer probation officers.

b. Appropriate recruitment and fostering of probation officers

  The introduction of recruitment exams for specialists should be discussed, the system and contents of training and the personnel system for probation officers should be reviewed, and how to foster human resources should be considered.

c. Measures for ensuring appropriate volunteer probation officers and enhancement of support for activities of volunteer probation officers

  Measures for ensuring appropriate volunteer probation officers should be diversified such as by introducing an open application system. Deliberations should also be conducted on support for activities of volunteer probation officers, such as on an appropriate system for providing tender for actual cost to volunteer probation officers and measures to secure places for interview other than their own residence.

d. Strengthening support for halfway houses

  Necessary efforts should be made to encourage local public entities to actively get involved and offer cooperation in rehabilitation services. Responsible entities related to the rehabilitation system should be expanded by reviewing systems for subsidiaries and commission fees for developing institutions and promoting participation of social welfare corporations. Furthermore, the government's support should be strengthened by expanding probation officers' direct involvement in treatment of inmates accommodated in private halfway houses and taking budgetary measures for establishing the management basis of halfway houses.

e. Offering strong support for reintegration into society and promoting the plan for the Center for Promotion of Self-Support Rehabilitations (tentative name) for realizing strict probationary supervision

  Enhanced job assistance should be provided by further creating employment of private companies, collecting and managing information on cooperative private companies, and offering more suitable jobs to inmates. Furthermore, in order to take over inmates who are difficult to deal with at current private halfway houses, the plan for the Center for Promotion of Self-Support Rehabilitations (tentative name) should be promoted so as to establish a system with a function as a Center that can provide especially enhanced treatment as early as possible.

f. Significantly increasing human resources and developing physical infrastructure for rehabilitation offices

  In order for the rehabilitation system to take appropriate measures for the above-mentioned urgent problems, play its role appropriately, and respond to the general public's expectation, it is necessary to increase, at least double, the current number of probation officers (about 650 persons) who are on front-line duties of dealing with cases related to probationary supervision.

(5) Expansion of understanding of the general public and local communities

a. Strengthening collaboration with local public entities

  Collaboration between the government and local public entities should be strengthened so as to provide cooperation for ensuring appropriate volunteer probation officers, jointly carry out anticrime activities, and offer support for activities of volunteer probation officers, as well as job assistance and settlement assistance for released inmates, etc.

b. Building networks in local communities by private volunteers and disseminating the idea of rehabilitation

  It is expected that private volunteers such as volunteer probation officers would build networks in local communities and work to disseminate the idea of rehabilitation through their activities.

c. Enhancing PR activities

  Various opportunities should be utilized to explain widely to the general public how the rehabilitation system has been operated, and achieve accountability to the general public by examining the effects of various measures and disclosing the results.

d. Establishing a third-party organization

  A third-party organization participated in by representatives of local residents should be established to make opportunities to obtain the general public's understanding by explaining how parole and probationary supervision has been implemented, and receive recommendations as needed.

e. Providing support for crime victims, etc.

  Based on the Basic Plan for Crime Victims, rehabilitation offices should utilize knowledge on criminal justice and experience obtained through conducting probationary treatment in cooperation with volunteer probation officers to appropriately implement measures for crime victims, etc., such as providing crime victims, etc. with information on perpetrators after criminal trials and transmitting victims' feelings to perpetrators.

(6) Developing necessary legislation concerning the rehabilitation system

  Related acts should be developed to make acts easy to understand for the general public by further clarifying the purpose of the rehabilitation system and taking legislative proceedings to introduce new systems necessary for the future rehabilitation system.