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The kidnap murder case in Nara prefecture in November 2004 triggered a strong call for the enhancement of treatment for sex offenders, and the necessity of effective treatment for preventing sex offenders from repeating offenses has come to be highly recognized both inside and outside of penal institutions. In order to introduce systematic and scientific programs for preventing repeat offenses through correction and rehabilitation, the Sex Offender Treatment Program Workshop, consisting of professionals in psychiatry, psychology, and criminology, etc., was established in April 2005. Based on discussions at the Workshop, the Ministry of Justice established sex offender treatment programs in March 2006 and determined to carry them out in FY2006.
Sex offender treatment programs, which are based on the idea of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment, which has been recognized to be effective through experimental studies in foreign countries, aim to make offenders acquire strong will to refrain themselves from committing sexual offenses by way of activities such as group work.
As such programs are being implemented in an organized way on a nationwide scale for the first time in Japan, it is necessary to regularly provide special training for officials in charge of programs to have them obtain necessary knowledge and skills. In May 2006, the Correction Bureau, Rehabilitation Bureau, and Research and Training Institute of the Ministry of Justice jointly invited specialists of sex offender treatment programs, etc. of the Correctional Service of Canada and held a Conference on Study of Treatment Problems with the participation of officials in charge of correction and probationary supervision programs. Various other specialized training sessions have also been implemented.
A Conference on Study of Treatment Problems
Furthermore, the results of the programs should be accumulated as data while implementing them and the effects of treatment should be reviewed. Through such procedures, sex offender treatment programs should be improved to strengthen their functions to prevent repeat offenses.
The outline of sex offender treatment programs at stages of correction and probationary supervision is as follows.