White Paper on Crime 2021 Part7/Chapter2/Column
The UN Crime Congress consists of plenary meetings and workshops as a formal program and ancillary meetings held in parallel with them.
In addition to some of the workshops and ancillary meetings held at the Kyoto Congress, this sidebar introduces the youth forum held prior to the Congress in chronological order.
The Youth Forum, which discusses topics related to the agenda of the UN Crime Congress, was held for the first time at the 13th Congress in Doha, Qatar, in 2015. The Kyoto Congress Youth Forum was held on February 27 and 28, 2021.
The general theme of the Kyoto Congress Youth Forum was “Youth engagement for our safe and secure society: towards achieving the SDGs.” Approximately 150 students from Japan and overseas participated in the Youth Forum.
Discussions took place on three specific topics: “Youth engagement in preventing youth crime and reintegrating youth offenders,” “Youth education for fostering a culture of lawfulness,” and “Youth commitment towards a safe information society.” The outcomes of the discussions were adopted as recommendations at the Plenary Session.
On March 7, 2021, the World Congress for Community Volunteers Supporting Offender Reintegration was held as an ancillary meeting of the Kyoto Congress, and the KYOTO Declaration on Community Volunteers Supporting Offender Reintegration was adopted as the outcome document. The World Congress was held with the participation of practitioners from around the world to discuss the usefulness of volunteer probation officers and other local volunteers participating in efforts to prevent repeat offenses and the measures to disseminate these systems throughout the world.
The United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI) has been responsible for one of the official workshops since the 10th UN Crime Congress as one of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network Institutes (PNI), and has taken a leading role in organizing its workshops. UNAFEI also worked with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) at the Kyoto Congress on one of the four workshops (Workshop 2 [Reducing reoffending: identifying risks and developing solutions]).
Workshop 2 was held on March 8 and 9, 2021, and it was confirmed that reducing reoffending was critical to building inclusive, sustainable societies as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda, and that ensuring a process and environment suitable for reintegration into society at all stages of criminal justice for the reintegration of offenders is extremely important for the prevention of repeat offenses. The content of the discussions in Workshop 2 was reflected in the Kyoto Declaration. A resolution entitled “Reducing reoffending through rehabilitation and reintegration” was submitted by the Government of Japan, partially amended, and adopted, which mainly included the necessity of the new UN standards and norms on reducing reoffending and the holding of expert meetings to that end.
On March 12, 2021, a meeting entitled Research for the Real World was held under the auspices of the Research Department of the Research and Training Institute of the Ministry of Justice. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the research by experts working at government research institutions in Japan and overseas in the criminal justice field and the impact of the research to improve policies and practices on reducing crimes.
At this meeting, four panelists presented their research results, and after discussions among panelists, the meeting ended with a question and answer session with the audience. The names and titles of the four panelists and the outline of their presentations were as follows:
(1) Dr. Jun Johnsok, Director of International Cooperation, Korean Criminal Policy Research Institute (KIC)
Under the title of “Strengthening sex offender treatment program in Korea,” the findings of a follow-up survey of sexual offense prisoners after release was introduced, which revealed that the reoffending rate differed depending on whether or not they had taken a sex offender treatment program. She explained practical measures that could be considered useful in reducing reoffending.
(2) Dr. Rick Brown, Deputy Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC)
Under the title of “Evaluating the crime impacts of community development work in public housing areas,” the results of a survey on the number of crime cases and the impact of the programs implemented for community development in public housing areas on residents' awareness were presented, along with the measures to improve the programs based on the results.
(3) Dr. Marie Garcia, Senior Social Scientific Analyst at the U.S. National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Under the title of “The corrections personnel experience: understanding the impact of job-related stress and how to promote resiliency,” she presented the results of a study of effective measures to maintain and promote the mental health and resilience of correctional personnel exposed to a variety of stress and dissatisfaction throughout their work.
(4) Mr. Reiji Ikeda, Senior Researcher, Research Department, Research and Training Institute of the Ministry of Justice (RTI)
In a survey of sentenced inmates entitled “changing communities: our desistance research,” when asked why they had been able to live without committing offenses in the past, the most common answers were “because I had someone who needed me”. The results of the survey were shared with local governments and people involved in social welfare, etc. to point out that the research contributes to creating an environment that supports rehabilitation.
After the presentations by the four panelists, discussions took place on the theme of “impact of COVID-19 on criminal justice policy.” Dr. Brown introduced a survey conducted by AIC to understand the impact on domestic violence experienced by women in Australia at the early stages of the pandemic.