2 Treatment of probationers/parolees

(1) Treatment providers

Probation/parole supervision usually takes place in cooperation with both a probation officer and a volunteer probation officer being assigned 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 thereby 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, being based on the results of the interview and relevant records, etc. Volunteer probation officers provide one or several probationers/parolees with guidance and assistance in accordance with the treatment plan by contacting them 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 makes the necessary adjustments for any changes in their situation by interviewing the probationer/parolee or related persons.

(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] being sincere with their probation/parole supervision by accepting visits and summons from the probation officer or volunteer probation officer, [3] having a fixed residence and notifying it to the relevant authority (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 leave there, etc.

In contrast to that, special conditions for probation/parole supervision get concretely specified if deemed necessary for the reformation/rehabilitation of probationers/parolees and include: [1] prohibiting certain acts that could lead to offenses or delinquencies, [2] performing/continuing certain acts deemed necessary in maintaining a sound life attitude, [3] reporting certain matters concerning their life or circumstances that are considered important to be identified in advance for providing 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 do get specified for probationers/parolees for whom following the conditions is considered necessary at the commencement of their probation/parole supervision or at any time according to the status of their probation/parole supervision. Any of the conditions which became unnecessary would be deleted.

In addition to the conditions for probation/parole supervision, life and conduct guidelines for improving their lifestyle and relationships with friends/acquaintances can also be specified for probationers/parolees. Those guidelines and conditions for their probation/parole supervision are informed to them and make the basis for their guidance.

(3) Methods of providing treatment

Treatment needs to be provided according to the conditions of the individual probationer/parolee. Treatment has been improved upon, through the use of various measures, and mainly through graduated treatment in which those with a severe problem are provided with more intensive instruction and supervision and categorized treatment to carry out supervision more effectively according to the category of problems that the probationer/parolee has.

a. Graduated treatment

Graduated treatment is a system that categorizes a probationer/parolee into one of four different treatment levels divided according to the progress he/she made in his/her reformation/rehabilitation, the possibility of a repeat offense, and the necessity of guidance and assistance, etc., and thus provides him/her with treatment, differing levels of involvement and frequencies of contact with probation officers, depending on the level he/she belongs to.

Since parolees who served life imprisonment or long-term imprisonment (imprisonment for 10 years or more) face various difficulties to reintegrate themselves back into society, they are placed at the highest level for the first year after their release and provided with enhanced treatment involving multiple probation officers, if necessary.

b. Categorized treatment, etc. according to the problems of probationers/parolees

(a) Categorized treatment and treatment for designated violent offenders

Some probationers/parolees fall into a typical problem category such as being dependent on drugs or organized crime group members, etc. and their treatment should be focused on improving those problems they have. There are also probationers/parolees who are junior high school students or elderly persons, etc. and their treatment should be implemented with special consideration on their environmental conditions. It is considered the most effective/efficient for all the probation officers and volunteer probation officers to utilize methods to solve their various problems, based on their accumulated experience, and thus the categorized treatment system was introduced as the treatment involved in probation/parole supervision. Under this system probationers/parolees with a typical 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 according to the accumulated experience gained through past treatment.

Table 2-5-2-5 shows the number of probationers/parolees designated to each major treatment category as of the end of 2010.

Table 2-5-2-5 Number of probationers/parolees designated to each major treatment category (as of December 31, 2010)

Table 2-5-2-5

Some probation offices provide treatment through group education to probationers/parolees (seminars, etc. to enhance the employability of those designated to “unemployed, etc.” category) and lectures for guardians and guarantors of those designated to “stimulants offender” category (held 53 times at 17 offices with the participation of 797 guardians/guarantors in FY 2010).

Probationers/parolees who repeated violent offenses and were designated into categories of either abusers of paint-thinners, etc., stimulants offenders, problematic drinkers, persons associated with organized crime groups, persons with mental disorders, etc., or persons who committed violence in family or who committed extremely serious violent offenses are classified as designated violent offenders and are therefore positioned at a high level of the graduated treatment. This level of treatment involves probation officers frequently interviewing them or their families and carefully identifying their living situation and immediately providing them with guidance on solving identified problems. In addition, the treatment is focused on solving any problems that led them to be classified as designated violent offenders (support for withdrawing from being an organized crime group member or advice on the medical treatment 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 types of criminal tendencies are provided with treatment through systematized methods that have been 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 way of thinking (cognition)) as specialized treatment programs.

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

A 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, and a person with the tendency to repeat drunken driving 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 helping them to think about their own problems (distorted cognition, lack of self-control, etc.) by having them fill in worksheets or providing them with guidance on methods of avoiding committing any offenses again 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 according to that role), etc. For example, the sexual offender treatment program provides sexual offenders with instructions to make them think about concrete methods not to repeat sexual offenses as action plans by helping them to analyze their behavior at the time they committed the sexual offense and to think about how they could have controlled the behavior which led them to commit the sexual offense at some stages before committing the offense, and thereby facilitating their distorted cognition of thinking that “I have to accept my inability to repress my sexual desires” then to be corrected. The stimulants offender treatment program is implemented in combination with quick screen drug test (a test for estimating if any stimulants have been used through urine tests or saliva tests using simple reagents). Quick screen drug test has been used with probationers/parolees that have a tendency to repeat stimulants use but who are not obliged to receive treatment through the stimulants offender treatment program or who have completed such treatment as required in maintaining their willpower to stop using stimulants, etc. on a voluntary basis (See (3) b. of Subsection 4, Chapter 5, Part 7).

Parolees who received “guidance on prevention of repeat sexual offenses” or “alcohol dependence treatment program” at penal institutions are provided with guidance in a consistent manner with the results of the implementation of the guidance/programs at penal institutions.

The number of persons that newly received treatment through specialized treatment programs in 2010 was 910 (618 parolees and 292 probationers) through the sexual offender treatment program, 1,387 (968 and 419 (id.)) through the stimulants offender treatment program, 274 (162 and 112 (id.)) through the violence prevention program, and 70 (32 and 38 (id.)) through the drunken driving prevention program (treatment through a drunken driving prevention program first commenced in October 2010). The number of cases of quick screen drug tests taken on a voluntary basis in 2010 was 7,282 (Source: The Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

(c) Atonement guidance program

Probationers/parolees that committed offenses which resulted in the death of or serious injury to their victims are provided with treatment through an atonement guidance program and guidance on making the effort to compensate victims, etc. in a sincere manner and in consideration to the victim’s own will.

Parolees that have taken part in an “atonement guidance program” (See (2) of Subsection 3, Section 2, Chapter 4) at a penal institution are provided with guidance taking into account the result of the program at the penal institution.

(4) Interim treatment system

For most parolees who served sentences of life imprisonment or long-term imprisonment (for 10 years or more), a gradual reintegration back into society is the most appropriate. They are therefore provided with interim treatment, if necessary, with their willingness, in which parolees live at halfway houses and are provided with living guidance, etc. by specialized advisers for the first month after being released. Interim treatment was implemented for 131 parolees in 2010 (Source: The Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice).

(5) Employment support

A stable living foundation through employment is important for 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 thereby helping them to secure employment. In addition, at penal institutions and juvenile training schools (See (6) of Subsection 2, Section 2, Chapter 4 and (2) of Subsection 2, Section 4, Chapter 1, Part 3), probation offices utilize employment support teams that consist of probation office and public employment security office staff members, etc., who select the most appropriate support methods content and provide each subject with vocational counseling and job placement services at public employment security offices. In addition, seminars, tours to work sites, and hands-on experience at workplaces are provided to enhance the employability of the subject and a support utilizing the guarantor system, and a trial employment system to facilitate employment by business enterprises have been implemented. Through these support systems 2,200 or more persons were employed in FY 2010 (Source: The Rehabilitation Bureau, Ministry of Justice) (See (3) d. of Subsection 1, Chapter 5, Part 7).

(6) National Centers for Offender Rehabilitation

National Centers for Offender Rehabilitation was established as institutions that 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. These centers accommodate them at facilities attached to probation offices and provide them with intensive guidance/supervision and substantial employment support by probation officers. As offender rehabilitation centers that can provide focused/specialized treatment for parolees according to their specific problems such as criminal tendency, 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 training school parolees, etc. (capacity of 12 males) commenced operation in October 2007 and the National Center for Offender Job Training and Employment Support in Ibaraki for parolees, etc. (capacity of 12 males) in September 2009 (See (3) b. of Subsection 3, Chapter 5, Part 7).