1 Case that reformation/rehabilitation was achieved through stable employment and improved relationships with friends

(1) Outline of the case

A juvenile felt uncomfortable at home due to his parents not getting along very well with each other since he was in elementary school. Around the time he entered junior high school he started to smoke and go out at night, etc. After graduating from junior high school he went on to senior high school, but soon dropped out. He subsequently lived a life of indulging in pleasure with delinquent friends. He committed theft and received probation as a protective measure. However, his life did not improve even after the disposition. He continued to live a similar life and was guided by the police several times. He was then placed under tentative supervision by the family court, but continued associating with delinquent friends and spent his life going out at night. He was involved in an assault case, etc. after being annoyed by the words and deeds of his friends, and received a decision to commit him to a middle juvenile school.

Initially after admission to the juvenile training school he was easily caught up in the environment around him, and at the same time he was bluffing but not actually confident enough, and tried to persist with his own opinions. However, he gradually developed moral awareness and the attitude to steadily make the effort through group life and the vocational guidance in the juvenile training school. In addition, the fact that he acquired a qualification in arc welding, etc. made an opportunity for him to start thinking more concretely about life and work after being discharged toward independence. Furthermore, he grew aware of the problem of associating with delinquent friends through group discussions and writing reports, and made up his mind to break away from associating with them.

The probation officer and volunteer probation officer made an approach to his parents while he was at juvenile training school to make them agree to accept him after discharge. He was then discharged from the juvenile training school on parole and thereafter lived with his parents. He could not initially find a job, and then quit a sales job that he did finally obtain, while also could not break away from associating with his

delinquent friends. The volunteer probation officer, however, continued to provide him with guidance/advice through accompanying him to employment seminars and routinely consulting him and his parents. After being employed at a restaurant he was motivated to work harder as his family visited the restaurant to encourage him, upon which his lifestyle became more and more stable.

(2) Discussion

This case concerns a juvenile that had been feeling uncomfortable at home, tried to find a comfort zone with his delinquent friends, and repeated delinquencies as the relationship became more and more close. His moral awareness through family education, etc. originally had not fully developed and repeating delinquencies with his delinquent friends of the same age group blunted his moral awareness even more. This, along with a failure with education/work, is considered to have made his problems worse.

It is deemed that he became capable of facing his own problems, including friend relationships, etc., through the guidance provided at the juvenile training school and that the sense of accomplishment of acquiring a license through his own effort gradually changed his attitude and sense of values.

After being discharged he did not consistently make favorable progress, but his friend relationships and employment were also initially unstable. He was able to eventually pass through this difficult period without making any significant deviations mainly due to his attitude of not wanting to waste the life he spent at the juvenile training school and the existence of the volunteer probation officer that closely supported him and his family under the guidance of the probation officer. Support from the people around is important in finding a job and in continuing to be employed for a juvenile without much work experience. Although it did not directly lead to employment the provision of support was considered to have been an opportunity. He made many complicated small changes in his life, including employment and development of sound friend relationships through new pastimes, etc., and these small changes expanded his social view and finally changed his internal attitude. He found comfort zone within his family and workplace and his friend relationships also improved. This then established an environment that led him to be reformed/rehabilitated.

(3) Measures for relevant problem fields in correction/rehabilitation

a. Guidance by problem group (guidance by type of delinquency) in juvenile training schools – guidance on friend relationships -

Guidance by problem group through organized/systematic education according to the concrete attitudes, behavioral characteristics, problems, and needs of the individual juvenile with regard to delinquencies is provided in juvenile training schools. This guidance is mostly provided to those classified into the respective problem groups involving sexual/opposite gender, drug, traffic, association with delinquent friends, and family problems, etc., but can also be provided to individuals.

Some juvenile training schools implement SST (Social Skills Training) as a part of guidance by problem group of association with delinquent friends. In this training, a concrete situation, for example “a friend asks you to come out late at night, even though you have to work the next day,” is assumed and juveniles learn to cope with the situation through work in groups (role playing). This guidance is effective in acquiring abilities to cope with problems that arise in various risk cases and also useful in developing smooth interpersonal relationships with the other people around them.

A juvenile who did not realize the problem of his friend relationships until he participated in the SST stated his opinion that he grew aware of his problem for the first time when he could not turn down his friend’s enticement successfully in a role play, upon which he came to think seriously about his friend relationships.

b. Guidance/assistance in improving friend relationships

In the course of implementing probation/parole supervision probationers/parolees are obliged to report the facts concerning their friend relationships, etc. upon request by probation officers or volunteer probation officers. In addition, concrete conditions prohibiting associating with persons who belonged to organized crime groups or with hot rodders, accomplices, or other delinquent groups, etc. can be assigned as a special condition for that supervision (See (2) of Subsection 2, Section 2, Chapter 5, Part 2) if necessary. After identifying association with delinquent friends then breaking that association through providing guidance in thereby following the special conditions for the supervision is an important issue.

With the treatment of juveniles, in particular, working on establishing sound friend relationships is also important in promoting their reformation/rehabilitation. As an activity in support of that a “friend project” is being implemented in cooperation with BBS Associations (See (1) of Subsection 2, Section 5, Chapter 5, Part 2). In this activity, members of BBS Associations listen and give advice to juveniles as their “friend” in thereby supporting them to be more independent through these interactions. Practical examples include an activity that involves multiple members providing company with juveniles that are not capable of maintaining good interpersonal relationships and tend to be isolated from those of the same age group listening to their worries and participating in recreation activities, etc. with them, and an activity in which university student members provide juvenile students with a tendency to be absent from school due to delayed learning with educational support and advice on school life and friend relationships.

c. Acquisition of licenses in correctional institutions

Juveniles accommodated in juvenile training schools are provided with vocational guidance that helps them acquire knowledge/skills/attitudes that are necessary in gaining a vocational life after being discharged. Concrete vocational guidance courses include [1] guidance on welding, woodwork, electrical engineering, farming and gardening, clerical word processing, and caregiving services, etc., [2] vocational training for acquiring knowledge, skills, and techniques that are necessary in work, and [3] externally entrusted vocational guidance implemented outside of correctional institutions through entrusting it to workplaces or persons with the relevant knowledge and experience.

In addition, vocational training is also provided in penal institutions to help inmates acquire knowledge and skills that can be useful in work (See (5) of Subsection 2, Section 2, Chapter 4, Part 2).

A young inmate voluntarily took vocational training and acquired the level 2 home helper qualification and barber qualification while in the juvenile prison. He then engaged in volunteer work as a practice in a welfare facility as a barber and was moved by the words of gratitude of “thank you” from the users of the facility. He thought, “I wish to engage in work that makes people happy and that I am capable of doing,” and was employed at a welfare facility by utilizing his home helper qualification after being released on parole.

d. Employment support

In order to secure employment of inmate, etc. after their release, employment support staff members are placed at penal institutions and juvenile training schools and comprehensive employment support measures for released inmates, etc. is implemented in cooperation among penal institutions, juvenile training schools, probation offices, and public employment security offices in thereby systematically providing employment support according to the desires and aptitudes of those subject to the support.

A young inmate received advice on his vocational aptitudes, etc. from employment support staff members placed at penal institutions, which raised his motivation to work, but he could not have decided on a place to return to after being released yet. He was then selected to be a subject of support and received employment support, including vocational counseling, job placements, etc., by public employment security office staff members. This resulted in being employed at a construction company, as a live-in job, which was decided while in the penal institution, and led to his smooth reintegration back into society.

At probation offices the likelihood of being employed is examined at the commencement of probation/parole supervision, etc. to select those in need of support, including those whose employment was not decided while in correctional institutions, as subjects of support, and who are then provided with concrete support in cooperation with public employment security offices. A subject of the support did not have a guarantor and thus used the guarantor system, which was available as part of the support menu. He also utilized his qualification and gained employment in the transportation industry.