Section 2 Treatment of Inmates, etc.

1 Overview of treatment

In accordance with the Penal Detention Facilities Act the treatment of inmates involves the aims of enabling them to increase their self-awareness according to their individual characteristics and environment, arousing the motivation to reform and rehabilitate themselves, and fostering their ability to adapt to a social life while respecting their human rights. Fig. 2-4-2-1 shows the flow of treatment of inmates.

Fig. 2-4-2-1 Flow of treatment of inmates

Fig. 2-4-2-1

(1) Treatment index and treatment guidelines

Work (See the next subsection), guidance for reform, and guidance through school courses (See Subsection 3) implemented as correctional treatment make up the core of the treatment provided to inmates. Correctional treatment needs to be provided according to the individual characteristics and environment of the inmates in an appropriate manner and be of the appropriate content (principle of individual treatment).

The personal characteristics and environment of inmates (assessments on treatment) are therefore assessed at each penal institution through utilizing expertise and technology from fields that encompass medicine, psychology, education, and sociology. In addition, detailed assessments also take place at special institutions designated as assessment centers on finally sentenced inmates that are young enough to still be sufficiently adaptable or those who require more detailed assessments (inmates for sexual offenses, etc.) in thereby determining the manner to provide them with special guidance for reform.

At penal institutions assessments of treatment (including those at assessment centers) are conducted upon commencement of execution of sentence and a treatment index is specified for each inmate according to the results of the assessments. The treatment index is organized in terms of both the type and content of the correctional treatment and the characteristics and criminal tendencies of the actual inmate. Table 2-4-2-2 shows the number of inmates by treatment index code as of the end of 2010. If deemed appropriate multiple treatment indices can also be specified. For example, V0, V1, R0, and LA are specified for inmates without any advanced criminal tendencies who have been sentenced to imprisonment with work for 10 years or more and for whom receiving vocational training and general guidance for reform was deemed appropriate. The penal institution where the inmate is placed and priority of treatment appropriate to the individual inmate is then determined using that treatment index. For example, Class LA inmates are placed in penal institutions that specialize in holding Class LA inmates while Class R3 inmates are provided with guidance on prevention of repeat sexual offenses.

Table 2-4-2-2 Number of inmates by treatment index code

Table 2-4-2-2

Correctional treatment is implemented based on treatment guidelines that specify the goals, basic content, and methods of correctional treatment (for example, specific methods, duration, and frequency of guidance on prevention of repeat sexual offenses, etc.), and which are all in accordance with the results of assessments on the required treatment that take place upon commencement of execution of their sentence.

As described above the treatment provided to inmates takes place through the following steps. The personal characteristics and environment of the individual inmate are first assessed upon commencement of execution of their sentence. A treatment index and treatment guidelines then get specified using the results of the assessments and the treatment of inmates is implemented in accordance with them. Assessments on treatment can take place both regularly and when considered necessary in accordance with the progress made through the correctional treatment provided. The treatment index and treatment guidelines can also be changed based on the results of the assessments if considered appropriate.

(2) Alleviation of restrictions and privilege measures

Inmates have various restrictions in their daily lives and activities in penal institutions. Uniform imposition of severe restrictions on all inmates, however, can dampen their enthusiasm to act in a voluntary/self-motivated manner. The restrictions used to maintain discipline and order therefore get gradually relaxed according to the likelihood of their accomplishing the aim of their treatment (thereby raising their motivation to reform and rehabilitate themselves and developing the capability of leading a sound social life), with the restriction classifications ranging from Level 1 through to 4, or in the order of being more relaxed through to stricter, being designated for inmates, but which can be regularly or as the occasion demands then changed. Inmates thereby have restrictions according to the respective restriction classification (for example the cells of Level 1 inmates are unlocked, etc.). As of April 10, 2011, the result of examining 77 main penal institutions, eight branch prisons, and four large-scale branch detection houses (Sapporo, Yokohama, Saitama, and Kokura) revealed that 373 inmates (0.6%) held within the institutions were designated as Level 1, 6,345 (10.1%) Level 2, 48,017 (76.7%) Level 3, and 2,722 (4.4%) Level 4, while 5,126 (8.2%) had no specific designation (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

In addition, those making the effort to reform/rehabilitate themselves should be rewarded to raise their motivation. Inmates are therefore designated as being of Level 1 to 5, with the order being from good to bad, in the privilege classifications according to the result of an assessment on their attitude every six months. Those classified as being considered capable of exhibiting good behavior are provided with more opportunities to come in contact with the outside world and permitted access to a greater range of self-supplied articles, etc. The result of examining the abovementioned subject penal institutions, also being as of April 10, 2011, revealed that 391 inmates (0.6%) held within the institutions were designated of a Level 1 privilege classification, 6,789 (10.8%) Level 2, 27,195 (43.5%) Level 3, 7,101 (11.3%) Level 4, and 8,130 (13.0%) Level 5, while 12,977 (20.7%) had no specific designation (Source: The Correction Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

(3) Day leave and furlough

Inmates that meet certain requirements, such as being likely to accomplish the aim of their treatment, and are therefore receiving treatment in an open facility, are permitted to temporarily leave the penal institution or spend no more than seven nights without having to be accompanied by an institution official when it has been considered necessary for them to visit someone outside to discuss securing a residence or employment after release or to maintain/adjust family relationships, etc., or if the need exists to visit a volunteer probation officer or anyone else related to their rehabilitation.