3 Case of reformation/rehabilitation achieved through establishment of constructive life goals and acquisition of basic attitudes required in leading a social life

(1) Outline of the case

This case involves a person whose parents got divorced when he was very young and who was subsequently a target of violence in family and didn’t have a place he could feel comfortable. While at junior high school he repeatedly run away from home and thus his living conditions were unstable and his educational level insufficient. After graduating from junior high school he did not go on to senior high school and instead gained employment and lived alone. After becoming an adult he committed injury and was sentenced to imprisonment with suspension of execution of the sentence without probation. He continued to live alone but his employment then became unstable. As he continued to engage in pleasure-seeking activities with delinquent friends he fell deep in debt. This subsequently resulted in starting to steal medals of a kind of vertical pinball game at a parlor using illegal devices, while thinking there would be no problem as long as he was not caught at the age of around 22. After repeating the same offense he was cleared and sentenced to imprisonment with work for one year with suspension of execution of the sentence (with probation) for four years.

The probation officer explained him the meaning of probation and revocation of suspended sentence in case of repeating offenses, etc. upon commencement of his probation. He gained employment in the machinery industry and continued to diligently work acquiring the necessary qualifications, etc. However, he wished to fulfill his long held desire to run a restaurant of his own and also break away from associating with delinquent friends. He therefore changed his residence and occupation and worked as a kitchen assistant at a restaurant. In a monthly meeting with his volunteer probation officer he repeatedly received guidance on repaying his debts and to save, and also to refrain from gambling, including pachinko, etc.

He established new friendships at work and enjoyed sports and watching movies with colleagues at work on weekends. He then naturally stopped gambling and no longer associated with accomplices, etc., thereby resulting in his overall lifestyle becoming more and more stable. He received a provisional discharge from probation.

(2) Discussion

This case involves a young person that lived unstably in terms of employment and committed theft. His life management abilities were not fully developed due to insufficient family education and schoolwork, while he also lacked sufficient abilities to recognize the results of his own acts, which therefore led to rather simple thinking patterns. After graduating from junior high school he was employed through an introduction made by an acquaintance, but could not find the meaning of self-realization or social participation, etc. in that employment. He also did not have the opportunity to receive guidance regarding his vocational aptitude or to improve his vocational skills, and therefore could not foresee a very good future even after being at the age of 20. His income then started to decrease due to the worsening of his employment situation. He did not, however, take measures to cut his expenditure in accordance with his reduced income and instead ran up unpayable debts. He then continued to commit theft to obtain money quickly for amusement expenses without thinking about it very seriously.

With this case as an opportunity, however, he came to understand the meaning of criminal dispositions. He reconsidered his future life plan and recollected his desire to work in the restaurant industry. He established a concrete plan to pursue this, and thus became highly motivated to work.

In addition, he started living alone while still a juvenile and did not understand basic life attitudes, including financial management, etc. He was therefore provided with guidance concerning a plan for repaying his debts and to save, etc. in his probation. The constant provision of concrete guidance to give him the ability to solve his real-life problems and to improve his life skills made him discontinue association with delinquent friends by changing residence and led to live a life with a greater stability. It also made a virtuous circle for him to maintain employment and good interpersonal relationships at work, and more wholesome leisure activities, etc.

In general people can easily adapt to new environments while still young. The fact that he became aware of being an adult and got an employment fitting his future goals at this stage of his life promoted his reformation/rehabilitation.

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

a. Guidance required for the maintenance of a sound social life

Quite a few juvenile/young probationers/parolees do not have the basic life attitudes needed to lead a sound social life, including time management, financial management, and health management, etc., and interpersonal relationship skills due to limited social experience, and this sometimes obstructs their reformation/rehabilitation.

These juveniles/young people therefore need a help to become aware of their own problems, consider concrete measures to solve these problems, and then implement the measures. For example, probation officers and volunteer probation officers can request probationers/parolees to submit their pay slips at interviews in thereby identifying the number of days they worked and the income they received. To those deemed incapable of financial management and to have the problem of spending too much or being in debt, etc. they can then request them to make a petty cashbook and provide them with concrete guidance/advice on refraining from spending too much, planning to repay debts, and to save for the future, etc. through examining how they spent their money.

In addition, many halfway houses implement SST in thereby providing the opportunity to learn how to exchange greetings, ways of speaking according to the particular occasion, and how to make phone calls, etc. through group work, etc.

b. Discussion on future life plan and vocational training – measures at employment support centers

At present two employment support centers are available to provide parolees, etc. who have the motivation to engage in the agriculture industry with intensive guidance/supervision and substantial employment support of probation officers by accommodating them in facilities attached to probation offices for a certain period of time to reform/rehabilitate them and to prevent repeat offenses.

At the National Center for Offender Job Training and Employment Support in Numata-cho (Uryu District, Hokkaido), juvenile training school parolees and juvenile probationers, etc. live a regular life in a rich natural environment under the supervision of permanently assigned probation officers and are provided with agricultural training at vocational agricultural training support farms established and operated by Numata-cho in thereby becoming independent. At the National Center for Offender Job Training and Employment Support in Ibaraki (Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki), parolees and probationers, etc. generally receive six months of agricultural training and agricultural employment support. Many of them then gain employment at farms run by their relatives or at agricultural corporations after leaving the center utilizing the skills they acquired in the agricultural training.