2 Treatment of probationers/parolees

(1) Treatment providers

Probation/parole supervision usually takes place in cooperation between a probation officer and a volunteer probation officer for each individual probationer/parolee. Probation officers provide supervision over multiple probationers/parolees. When supervision of a probationer/parolee first commences a probation officer interviews the probationer/parolee in raising their reformation/rehabilitation motivation and formulates an individual treatment plan that outlines the objectives of the treatment and methods, etc. used in their guidance, supervision, and rehabilitation support, based on the results of the interview and relevant records, etc. Volunteer probation officers provide supervision over one or several probationers/parolees and guidance and assistance in accordance with a treatment plan by contacting the probationer/parolee and their families, etc. through interviews and visits, etc. The progress of their treatment is then reported by the volunteer probation officer to the director of the probation office every month. The probation officer, in cooperation with the volunteer probation officer, then takes appropriate measures to adjust to any changes in their situation by interviewing the probationer/parolee or related persons, as required.

(2) Conditions for probation/parole supervision and life and conduct guidelines

As described above, the conditions for probation/parole supervision include general conditions applicable to all probationers/parolees and special conditions specified for individual probationers/parolees.

The content of the general conditions for probation/parole supervision includes: [1] maintaining a sound life attitude, [2] sincerely receiving probation/parole supervision by accepting visits and summons from the probation officer or volunteer probation officer, [3] having a fixed residence that they notify the relevant authority of (excluding the case of being released on parole), [4] residing in the notified residence (or the residence specified when parole was granted in the case of being released on parole) and obtaining permission in advance to vacate it, etc.

In contrast to that, special conditions for probation/parole supervision are concretely specified if deemed necessary for the reformation/rehabilitation of probationers/parolees with regard to matters that include: [1] prohibiting certain acts that could lead to offenses or delinquencies, [2] performing and continuing certain acts deemed important in maintaining a sound life attitude, [3] reporting certain matters concerning their life or circumstances that are considered important to be identified in advance in their guidance and supervision, and [4] taking specialized treatment programs (See (3) b. (b)) for reducing certain criminal tendencies, etc. Special conditions for probation/parole supervision are specified for probationers/parolees for whom following the conditions is considered necessary upon commencement of their probation/parole supervision or according to the status of their probation/parole supervision. Any of the conditions considered not required are cancelled.

In addition to conditions for probation/parole supervision, life and conduct guidelines for improving life styles and relationships with friends/acquaintances can also be specified for probationers/parolees that the probationers/parolees are notified of. Those guidelines and conditions for probation/parole supervision are then used as the basis for the guidance.

(3) Methods of providing treatment

Treatment needs to be provided according to the conditions of the individual probationers/parolees. Treatment has been improved, using various measures, mainly through graduated treatment in which those with a severe problem are provided with more intensive instruction and supervision and categorized treatment in which supervision is effectively carried out according to the category of problems that the probationers/parolees have.

a. Graduated treatment

Graduated treatment is a system that positions probationers/parolees within four different treatment levels that are categorized according to the progress they make in their reformation/rehabilitation, the possibility of a repeat offense, and the necessity for guidance and assistance, etc., and thus provides them with treatment at differing levels of involvement with and frequencies of contact with probation officers that is accordance to their necessary level of treatment.

Parolees with life imprisonment or long-term imprisonment (imprisonment for 10 years or more) are provided with enhanced treatment by placing them at the highest level for the first year after their release. See Subsection 3, Section 1, Chapter 3, Part 7 for the implementation of graduated treatment for parolees with life imprisonment or long-term imprisonment (imprisonment for 10 years or more).

b. Categorized treatment and other treatment according to the problems of probationers/parolees

(a) Categorized treatment and treatment for designated violent offenders

Some probationers/parolees fall within a problem category that requires attention to be paid in providing treatment for their reformation, including anyone dependent on drugs or Boryokudan members, etc., or that require special consideration within their treatment according to environmental conditions, including junior high school students and elderly persons, etc. It is considered the most effective/efficient for all the probation officers and volunteer probation officers to utilize the methods to solve various problems, based on the accumulated experiences by sharing the experiences each one of those persons has, thus the categorized treatment system was introduced as the treatment involved in probation/parole supervision. Under this system probationers/parolees with a particular problem are classified into a problem category and thus provided with effective treatment according to their problems and in accordance with treatment guidelines and matters requiring attention that was systematized and is based on experience gained through past treatment.

Table 2-5-2-5 shows the designation of major treatment categories of probationers/parolees (as of the end of 2009).

Table 2-5-2-5 Designation of treatment categories of probationers/parolees (as of December 31, 2009)

Table 2-5-2-5

Some probation offices implement treatment through providing group education to probationers/parolees (seminars, etc. to enhance the employability of anyone classified as being “unemployed, etc.”) and lectures for guardians and guarantors of anyone classified as being a “stimulants offender” (held 37 times at 12 offices with the participation of 469 guardians/guarantors in FY 2009).

Probationers/parolees that have repeated violent offenses and are classified as either stimulant offenders, problematic drinkers, persons with mental disorders, etc., persons that have committed domestic violence, abusers of paint-thinner, etc., or persons associated with Boryokudan or that have committed extremely serious violent offenses are classified as being designated violent offenders and are positioned at the high level of the graduated treatment. This level of treatment involves probation officers frequently interviewing them or their families in carefully identifying their living situation and immediately providing them with guidance on solving problems if any are identified. In addition, efforts are made to solve any problems that led them to be classified as being designated violent offenders (support for withdrawing from being a Boryokudan member or advice on the medical treatment available for any drug dependencies at medical institutions or participation in self-help groups in giving up alcohol, etc.) in cooperation with the relevant agencies.

(b) Specialized treatment programs

Probationers/parolees with certain criminal tendencies are provided with treatment through systematized methods developed based on specialized knowledge, including psychology, etc., and cognitive behavioral therapy theories (psychotherapy in facilitating a change in their behavioral patterns by enabling the subjects to recognize their own distorted thinking (cognition)) as specialized treatment programs (See Subsections 1 and 2, Section 1, Chapter 3, Part 7).

There are three specialized treatment programs, namely a sexual offender treatment program, stimulants offender treatment program, and violence prevention program.

Any probationer/parolee classified as being a “sexual offender” (limited to males), a personal user of stimulants (limited to those with a strong tendency to repeat drug use with probationers), a repeated committer of violent offenses are obliged to receive treatment through these specialized treatment programs as a special condition for their probation/parole supervision.

The specialized treatment programs involve probation officers interviewing probationers/parolees a total of five times and the provision of guidance on methods of avoiding committing any offenses through helping them to think about their own problems (distorted cognition, lack of self-control, etc.) by making them write down on worksheets or through role-playing (a method of making them understand desirable behavioral patterns by selecting familiar cases from a normal social life and having them act accordingly to a role), etc.

The stimulants offender treatment program is implemented in combination with quick drug screen testing (a test for estimating if any stimulants have been used through urine tests or saliva tests by simple reagents). Quick drug screen testing may also be used with probationers/parolees that have a tendency to repeat stimulants use but who are not obliged to receive treatment through stimulants offender treatment program or completed such treatment as required in maintaining their willpower to stop using stimulants, etc. on a voluntary basis.

The number of persons newly received treatment through specialized treatment programs in 2009 was 892 (597 parolees and 295 probationers) for the sexual offender treatment program, 1,308 (963 and 345 (id.)) for the stimulants offender treatment program, and 249 (149 and 100 (id.)) for the violence prevention program. The number of cases of quick drug screen testing taken on a voluntary basis in 2009 was 7,639 (Source: The Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

Treatment being available through a drunken driving prevention program also commenced in October 2010.

(c) Atonement guidance program

Probationers/parolees that committed offenses which resulted in death or serious injury to the victims are provided with treatment through an atonement guidance program (See Subsection 1, Section 1, Chapter 3, Part 7) and guidance on making the effort to compensate victims, etc. in a sincere manner giving consideration to the victim's own will.

(4) Interim treatment system

In 2009 interim treatment for parolees with life imprisonment or long-term imprisonment (imprisonment for 10 years or more) (See Subsection 3, Section 1, Chapter 3, Part 7) was implemented for 81 parolees (Source: The Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

(5) Employment support, etc.

A stable living foundation through employment is important in the social reintegration of released inmates, etc. and hence employment guidance has been emphasized in the treatment involved in probation/parole supervision. The Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, has been implementing comprehensive employment support measures for released inmates, etc. since FY 2006 in thus helping them to secure employment (See (6) of Subsection 2, Section 3, Chapter 4). As part of those measures probation offices utilize employment support teams that consist of probation office and public employment security office staff members, etc., which select the most appropriate support methods and approaches for each subject, and which then provide the subjects with vocational counseling and job placement services at public employment security offices. In addition, seminars, tours of work sites, and hands-on experience at workplaces have been conducted to enhance the employability of the subjects, a support program has been implemented utilizing the guarantor system and a trial employment system in facilitating employment by business enterprises, which resulted in 2,000 or more persons being employed in FY 2009 (Source: The Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

In addition, the establishment of National Centers for Offender Rehabilitation, etc. has been promoted, which aim to prevent repeat offenses and facilitate the self-sufficiency of parolees and juvenile training schools parolees, etc. who have no appropriate guarantors and whom even private halfway houses have difficulty in accepting. This is achieved by accommodating them at facilities attached to probation offices and intensive guidance/supervision and substantial employment support being provided by probation officers. As offender rehabilitation centers that can provide focused/specialized treatment for parolees according to their specific problem, the National Center for Offender Rehabilitation in Kitakyushu (capacity of 14 males) commenced operation in June 2009 and the National Center for Offender Rehabilitation in Fukushima (capacity of 20 males) in August 2010. In addition, as employment support centers that mainly provide agricultural vocational training, the National Center for Offender Job Training and Employment Support in Numata-cho (Hokkaido) for juvenile parolees (capacity of 12 male juveniles) commenced operation in October 2007 and the National Center for Offender Job Training and Employment Support in Ibaraki (capacity of 12 males) in September 2009.