Section 1 Parole

The parole system aims to promote the smooth social reintegration of inmates sentenced to imprisonment with or without work who have demonstrated “genuine repentance” and can be expected to successfully rehabilitate themselves by releasing them before completion of their term of imprisonment and instead placing them under parole supervision until their term of parole (i.e. the remaining term of their imprisonment) is complete.

Parole can be granted to inmates sentenced to imprisonment with or without work after they have served the statutory term, which is 1/3 of a definite imprisonment term or 10 years for life imprisonment (See Subsection 3, Section 1, Chapter 2, Part 3 for special provisions provided for by the Juvenile Act). Parole is typically only granted to inmates that have demonstrated “genuine repentance.” More concretely, parole can be granted to inmates who have exhibited signs of remorse for the offense they committed and a willingness to reform and rehabilitate themselves, without any likelihood of repeating an offense, thus making it reasonable to place them under parole supervision for their own reformation and rehabilitation and the general sentiment of society would approve that decision. In addition, a system wherein the opinions, etc. of victims, etc. are heard before parole is granted has been in force since December 1, 2007 (See Subsection 6, Section 1, Chapter 2, Part 5).

Probation offices with jurisdiction over an inmate’s post-release abode implement environmental adjustments. Upon receiving an investigative report on the personal affairs of an inmate to be released from a penal institution the probation officer or volunteer probation officer in charge will inspect their planned post-release abode and arrange for a residence and employment, etc. through interviews with their guarantor in thereby ensuring that the pertinent environment is suitable for the rehabilitation of the released inmate. With the elderly or disabled persons that could face difficulties in becoming self-sufficient with no residence, adjustments can be made in cooperation with community settlement support centers being developed by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare from FY 2009 to enable them to be admitted to social welfare institutions. The results of environmental adjustments can provide useful data for parole examinations and serve as a basis for the social reintegration of inmates.

The number of persons for whom environmental adjustments were commenced decreased for three consecutive years from 2007, but slightly increased in 2010 to 43,190 (up 4.2% from the previous year) (Source: Annual Report of Statistics on Rehabilitation).