Japan's elderly inmates prefer jail

By Natsuko Fukue

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It is no easy thing to do today change ones life around in terms of routine. The prisoners who get anxious about being released into society really need more services than a 16 week stay at a halfway house. More support is needed even before they leave prison to allay fears by giving a foundation in which they have security.

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The rise in senior crime is attributed to increased economic hardship, an ageing population, and pure greed, according to a 2013 report by the National Police Agency

Leave it to the NPA to blame the victims as usual. Muppets. The first 2 reasons-yes, very true. If you want to lock up seniors for pure greed, you could start with Kasumigaseki.

“It’s a problem that the work of prison officers is becoming more like nursing care,” Justice Ministry official Shinsuke Nishioka said, contrasting that with the traditional task of ensuring the incarcerated don’t escape. Officers at Fuchu, Japan’s biggest male-only correctional house, have to change diapers for some prisoners and help them bathe.

This would be funny if it wasn't so grim and sad. “

Older prisoners sometimes are hard of hearing,” Nishioka said. “They don’t understand instructions and they have to go to the toilet often. It’s tough. We’ll need more officers.”

Aw, poor wittle prison officers. May I suggest a working holiday in a real prison in North America, Europe, or OZ/NW? Then come back and whine about how tough you have it.

Prison life in Japan is far from easy—talking is forbidden while at work, inmates must walk single file, and bathing is restricted. Even during rare events put on for their entertainment, they are only allowed to sit ramrod straight with their hands on their laps. Applause is generally forbidden.

Its almost like they are describing an incarcanation camp just outside of Pyongyang. Sounds to me like an abuse of human rights..

Life is monotonous, and naturally restricted; yet many prefer this predictable regimen where they have shelter, food, and medical care, to life on the outside.

Tells you alot about the social safety net of Japan.

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@AlyRustom... excellent analysis and comment!

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The no talking rule , the walking in single file and banning applause at entertainment events. A nasty little taste of the darker side of the culture. The fact that these poor geezas would rather live this way than try than live on the outside is also a particularly sad sign of the times. Poor old buggers.

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From school to retirement Japanese are hostages to authority, duty and routine. Prison is just an intensification of this. It seems only reasonable that some would choose this as they get older.

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Tree mealsa day and a place to sleep ... if things get too unbearable on the outside...guess I could deal with prison...guess I will have to give up women :-/

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Sounds pretty grim, and also a massive drain on the tax payer at a time where the burden on younger people is increasing exponentially.. I would say stop locking up as many people for minor crimes

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@AlyRustom... excellent analysis and comment!

Thank you Mike!

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Obviously, incarceration is not the way. And to have prison as the only hope of a decent life is very disheartening.

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This is a pretty damning indictment of Japanese society.........

It you end up in hard times some of us posting here may well end up having to consider the same options....scary

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Well Japan you better start building more Reteriment centre ( Prison ) because as the article say “The reason why many older ex-convicts return to prisons is because it’s difficult for them to be financially independent,” There are elderly how have never been to prison and find it just as hard, It Only a matter of time and more article like this. That this hugh group of elderly living below the poverty line will soon realise that live is better on the inside then what the Japan Government is offering on the outside. The Basic Pension Japan give their elderly is totally disgusting. It mirrors Japans slavely of the minimum wage. Japan is like a rich man who is conspritpated he will not stop eating but rather get decease and seize up then to Pay out.

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Well a prison population is not a far fetched idea,scary but. Could happen, in other parts of the world they have more prisons than schools and with the increase of prisons comes the need for "prisoners " and we all know that the rich and powerful are to good to be prisoners so who better than the poor homeless and helpless. :-/

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Save enough to allow me to retire comfortably (in Japan or elsewhere). Continue working to support myself. Seppuku.

The above are my three retirement plans. Though I think prison would suit me, provided there was a library.

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Anyone else think of Brooks in Shawshank Redemption?

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"Are there no workhouses?" to paraphrase Mr. Scrooge. ............................................................................................................ There is a multitude of options to the situation described; some for which I'd pay taxes, some not. The Justice Ministry (or NPA or the appropriate authority) could make prison life tougher and so less attractive though what they could do short of chaining prisoners from the ceiling head down I can't imagine. However, never dismiss the older generation's inclination (declination?) to "ganbaru". I wonder if a sort of minimalist "retirement" home might not cost any more than those facilities devoted to prisoners now. Some sort of work by which they could "earn" their keep might be made available. However, man being what he is ("homo homini lupus est") such a system would be open to exploitation. In addition, services and rights not available to prisoners now would have to be given and so, with the help of private contractors, the price inflated. Fortunately, I, in this small space and expecting little more patience from the readership, do not have to redesign the system. Certainly there are experts in Japan putting their heads together as I write? ......................................................................................................... Oh, we could just keep the alternative we see now: "Are there no viaducts?"

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Capsule hotel units are pretty cheap on Alibaba. And there are kilometers and kilometers of empty land in Japan. Probably lots of empty islands. Just pick one, build a ferry dock, load it up with capsules.

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From school to retirement Japanese are hostages to authority, duty and routine. Prison is just an intensification of this. It seems only reasonable that some would choose this as they get older.

Spot on. This is the most concise comment I have seen in a while.

It's a pretty sad reflection on a society when there is a fine line, in terms of satisfaction/stability etc, between prison life and regular life...

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Prison might be better than working as at least the hours are set firmly.

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After a certain age in this safety country, finding a job is not difficult; it's impossible. Especially if the job-seeker has spent any time in the slammer. That's a double whammy. While being in prison at least they can eat, bathe, and have 24-hour health care. Not that I think it's in anyway a comfortable living situation, it beats homelessness, poverty, and hunger.

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"Even during rare events put on for their entertainment, they are only allowed to sit ramrod straight with their hands on their laps. Applause is generally forbidden."

So, similar to concerts on the outside, then?

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A cot & three squares a day, and not having to face an uncertain future.

Shorter (for now) wait time for medical treatment.

Not having to do back-breaking labor, like back in the day.

Sounds somewhat ... appealing.

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Agree with dcog, no need to lock up the elderly for "petty crime such as shoplifting and theft." When you're 75yo and steal at your local konbini I think you need help rather than another stint in jail.

Re career criminals over 65, we just can't expect them to find a job when they get out of jail. May be hard to swallow for some but perhaps the least bad option would be to give them basic shelter/food for the rest of their lives. A civilised society looks after all its members, good and not so good ones.

Awesome post moonraker!

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Kobe White Bar Owner at Jan. 17, 2017 - 02:13PM JST Anyone else think of Brooks in Shawshank Redemption? ................................................................................................... Yes. An old YMCA in San Francisco off Market came to mind. Thank God I spent only 3 days there!

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Now in her 60s, she served 15 years of a murder sentence before being released.

Why some murderer got hanged and this woman just receieved 15 years of imprisonment? Because she is a woman?

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