crime

Prisons in Japan cope with swelling ranks of elderly inmates

22 Comments
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Takashi Umekawa

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Despite his life sentence, the 81-year-old has been released twice on parole, but wound up back in prison after being caught drinking alcohol, a parole violation. He hopes he will be paroled again so he can see his 103-year-old mother.

Sad.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Of those jailed in 2016, 36 percent of those older than 60 were in prison for at least the sixth time, far higher than the 16 percent for all prisoners incarcerated that year.

No kidding, the system itself has a serious problem in not recognizing that these elderly folks can not take care of themselves and once they are let go, they have no other options to stay alive other than to commit a crime that will put them back, where at least they get food and housing.

Police data in South Korea show that about 15 percent of those aged 65 or older who committed a crime in 2016 had been convicted at least five times already.

And out of nowhere, this paragraph gets inserted, am I supposed to believe that everything "after" it is talking about SK and not Japan? Trying to show that it's not just a Japanese problem but SK's too? This part is so out of place in the overall context of the article and should be edited out.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

A better system would be care homes for the elderly ex convicts so some can be placed in them without the need to be a repeat offender. Others will continue to offend even if placed in a care home.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Since there doesn’t seem to be much support or sympathy for ex-cons in Japan, getting re-arrested seems to be the fallback position. I’m surprised even younger prisoners can find employment. Some places won’t even hire people with a disease (like epilepsy).

Also, in a country where data is mined constantly and the number of people with X or Y or Z is known down to the single digits, I find it hard to believe the Ministry of Justice has no information on how individual prisons are dealing with elderly prisoners. The MOJ does pay for these changes, doesn’t it?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Old age crime, when will it stop?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I think it's a crime to out a 81 year old man in jail for drinking alcohol.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I think it's a crime to out a 81 year old man in jail for drinking alcohol.

I agree! If he didnt cause any problems for anyone when he was "caught", let it be! Oh I think that should go for any ex-con too!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

That compares with only 6 percent of that age bracket in the United States, and about 11 percent in South Korea. of note Japans entire prison population is about 50,000, while in the US its 8million! makes you wonder who is really the "land of the free" !?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

According to the American Federal Bureau of Prisons the number of prison inmates are 4,780 inmates or 2.6% of the total prison population. Japan rate 19%.

The current Japanese population is (2014) 61,000 compared with America's 2.2 million.

America imprisons more people but in Japan prisons have become care homes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"The number of prisoners aged 60 or older has risen 7 percent from a decade ago" How does this compare with the rate of increase in the number of people aged 60 or more in Japanese society as a whole? There also seems to be a very high rate of recidivism, with the same individuals moving between parole to prison. Thus, the ranks of prisoners would not appear to be swelling so much as simply aging.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mans gotta do what a mans gotta do !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Prison is a better life than living on the pittance pension for many. They get free medical, three meals a day and all the assistance they need. They get bugger all living on the pension.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Recently had serious robbery from a 74 year old woman who I trusted. Police will not arrest her because of her age, although she did it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

of note Japans entire prison population is about 50,000, while in the US its 8million! makes you wonder who is really the "land of the free" !?

or which country has better safety.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is the consequence of not sticking to the death penalty sentence for murderers, rapists, etc. Now you end up with bunch of old guys who spent most of their lives on tax payers' expense.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

DisillusionedMar. 18 05:33 pm JST

Prison is a better life than living on the pittance pension for many.

Allowing for currency fluctuations, the Japanese pension is about the same as the UK pension (which is renownedly stingy), so the pension problem is not a solely Japanese one, though interestingly I am not aware of many OAP's (old age pensioners) deliberately committing crimes so as to go to prison?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan does have a high re-offending rate for all age groups. That would suggest to me that the prision system itself has flaws.

While prisions should not be hotels, keeping prisioners isolated (which happens a lot in Japanese prisions) can have a serious effect on a persons mental health.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There also seems to be a very high rate of recidivism, with the same individuals moving between parole to prison.

As is often noted here, first time offenders in Japan very often get a suspended sentence. A large fraction of people who actually do get locked up are repeat offenders even when its their first time in the clink. That people who are repeated offenders to begin with repeat again is not surprising.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The 81-year-old in the article has been in prison for 60 years. That really is a life sentence.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The 81-year-old in the article has been in prison for 60 years. That really is a life sentence.

I was wondering about that myself. I asked a few months back if a life sentence in Japan actually is a life sentence, and no one answered, but this would make it seem like it maybe is.

Just think, this guy went in as a 21 year old, and now is a very, very old man. All within prison walls.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Strangerland

Just think, this guy went in as a 21 year old, and now is a very, very old man. All within prison walls.

I think of how different the world would be from his perspective if he were released soon. He likely wouldn't be able to handle the Internet Age nor reintegrate whatsoever. And any connections he would have had in the past would be gone. Family, too. Probably just nephews/nieces left and a handful of relatives near his age.

Similar to when people are found after being shipwreck for years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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