The Ministry of Justice:History of Corrections and What We Do (2024)


Correction Bureau

 The Correction Bureau was established as the Prison Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1879. Its name changed over the years to the Prison Administration Bureau, the Criminal Policy Bureau, the Correction and Rehabilitation Bureau, as the Ministry itself changed its name, responsibility and duties. The Bureau’s name was changed to its current form in 1952. It is responsible for overall correctional administration, which includes giving guidance and supervision for matters concerning security, assessment and social rehabilitation prison work, education, medical treatment and hygiene to provide appropriate treatment for inmates in correctional institutions (prisons, juvenile prisons, detention houses, juvenile training schools, juvenile classification homes, and women’s guidance homes), and also conducting research on new treatment methods in line with recent correctional trends.

Regional Correction Headquarters

 Regional correction headquarters are local branch offices that divide the work of the Correction Bureau to supervise a number of facilities in the jurisdiction, and coordinate guidance and supervision for appropriate management and operation of each facility.
 Regional correction headquarters release periodic reviews of the treatment information of the jurisdiction. Journalists who are interested in participating in press briefings are welcome to contact the relevant regional correction headquarters.

 Regional Correction Headquarters Locations Nationwide

Penal Institutions (Prisons / Juvenile Prisons / Detention Houses)

 The modern prison system in Japan began with the enactment of Prison Regulations in 1872 and was established by the Prison Act enacted in 1908. The legal term for prison in Japanese “Kangoku” that appears in Organization Act was changed in 1922 to prison and juvenile prison (“Keimusho” and “Shonen-Keimusho”), and facilities that mainly house persons under detention became referred to as detention houses in 1937.
 The Prison Act was revised and subsequently abolished. The legal term for prison in Japanese (“Kangoku”) was changed to penal institution (“Keiji-Shisetsu”) by new law, the “Act on Penal Detention Facilities and the Treatment of Inmates and Detainees”. Prisons, juvenile prisons, and detention houses were established as penal institutions under this new law.

 Penal Institutions

 Penal Institution Locations Nationwide

Juvenile Training Schools

 Juvenile training schools were established as reformatories (“Kyoseiin”) in 1922. The legal term of the institution in Japanese was changed to “Shonenin” following the revision of the Juvenile Act based on new philosophies in juvenile protection in 1948. In 2015, the Juvenile Training School Act was completely revised and enacted.

 Juvenile Training Schools

 Juvenile Training Schools Locations Nationwide

Juvenile Classification Homes

 Juvenile shelters and juvenile classification homes (only carried out classification at the time) that were established with the revision of the Juvenile Act in 1949, merged to become juvenile protection classification homes in 1950, and their name changed to juvenile classification homes in 1952. In 2015, the Juvenile Classification Home Act was newly enacted.

 Juvenile Classification Homes

 Juvenile Classification Home Locations Nationwide

Women’s Guidance Homes

 Women's guidance homes are facilities under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice that provide the guidance necessary to accommodate and rehabilitate women 20 years of age or older who have been given guidance measures under the Anti-Prostitution Act.

 Women’s Guidance Homes

 Women's Guidance Home Locations Nationwide

What We Do

Penal Institutions

 Penal institutions are divided into prisons, juvenile prisons and detention houses. Detention houses mainly hold suspects and those accused of crimes in detention. Along with preventing detainees awaiting judicial decisions from absconding or destroying evidence, detention houses give due consideration in order not to impede their right to a fair defense and trial.

 Prisons and juvenile prisons are different from detention houses in that the following treatments are provided to the inmates throughout the execution of the sentences in order to cultivate the ability to adapt to social life and stimulate the motivation to rehabilitate.

 Penal Institutions

 Detail about Prison Work and Vocational Training

 First of all, to formulate treatment guidelines, it is necessary for each penal institution to conduct an assessment of the personality and circ*mstances of each newly sentenced inmate (treatment assessment), and to determine treatment guidelines for each inmate. Then, inmates sentenced to imprisonment with work, who make up the majority of inmates, are assigned to work. This work is intended, as much as possible, to raise the willingness of inmates to work to encourage acquisition of vocationally useful knowledge and skills. The types of work cover a wide range, and the main industries include woodworking, printing, dressmaking, and metal and leather working.

 In addition, in general training facilities established in eight locations throughout the country, vocational training of inmates is carried out predominantly, and inmates who have completed the prescribed training are issued a vocational training certificate by the head of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s Human Resources Development Bureau.

 The main guidance for sentenced inmates are: guidance at the commencement of the sentence and guidance before release, guidance for reform, guidance in school courses, advice and instruction by “voluntary visitors”, and recreation.

 In penal institutions, it is necessary to guarantee appropriate living conditions for inmates. For example, the provision of food, clothing, bedding, daily necessities, and opportunities for exercise and bathing. Due consideration is given to hygiene and health management. When inmates suffer from disease, doctors at the facility take care of them. Therefore, each facility is equipped with medical equipment and doctors and nurses are allocated. Those who need special treatment are housed in medical prisons. In addition, when treating inmates, due consideration is given to sending and receiving letters, conducting visits, and reading books.

The Ministry of Justice:History of Corrections and What We Do (1)

The Ministry of Justice:History of Corrections and What We Do (2)

Single Room

Group Room

The Ministry of Justice:History of Corrections and What We Do (3)

_The Ministry of Justice:History of Corrections and What We Do (4)_

Shower Room

  Waiting Room for Visitors

Juvenile Training Schools

 Juvenile training schools are facilities under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice that provide correctional education and reintegration support for the purpose of fostering the sound development of juveniles sent as a protective measure by family courts.

 Juvenile training schools are divided into three categories depending on the age and mental condition of the inmates: type 1, type 2 and type 3. It is decided in the family court which type of juvenile training school is appropriate for the juvenile.
 In addition, boys and girls have separate facilities except for type 3. There are also type 4 juvenile training schools that accommodate those who are subject to execution of sentence.

 Each juvenile training school has a designated correctional education curriculum that defines the main content of correctional education and a standard education period.

 Each juvenile training school adopts “juvenile training school correctional education curriculums” correspondingly to the correctional education curriculums designated to the facility, that stipulate the objectives, contents, and implementation methods and other necessary matters. On that basis, according to the characteristics and educational needs of each and every juvenile, and referring to the information and opinions of family courts and juvenile classification homes, “personalized correctional education programs” are designed and carried out.

 Juvenile Training Schools

Juvenile Classification Homes

 Juvenile classification homes are facilities under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice with the duty of (1) conducting classification according to requests from family courts, (2) conducting necessary treatment for observation and protection for those housed in juvenile classification homes with measures for observation and protection, and (3) providing assistance to prevent delinquencies and crimes in local communities.
 Classification clarifies the problems of qualitative and environmental circ*mstances that caused the delinquencies and crimes based on specialized knowledge and techniques such as medicine, psychology, pedagogy and sociology, and indicating appropriate guidelines in order to contribute to the improvement of those circ*mstances.      

 In addition, juvenile classification homes work as "Ministry of Justice Support Centers " of the Ministry of Justice to support activities related to sound development and the prevention of delinquencies and crimes in the community, collaborating with related organizations and groups involved in the sound development of young people such as child welfare institutions, schools and educational institutions, and private organizations including NPOs, by utilizing expertise and know-how related to problems regarding delinquencies and crimes, and understanding of the behavior of adolescents.

  Juvenile Classification Homes

Women’s Guidance Homes

 Women's guidance homes are facilities that provide the guidance necessary to accommodate and rehabilitate those who have been given “guidance” under the Anti-Prostitution Act. This guidance is made at the discretion of the court when the execution of a sentence is suspended for a woman 20 years of age or older who has performed acts such as solicitation for the purpose of prostitution.
 At women's guidance homes, women who have unfortunate living capabilities or circ*mstances are accommodated in a protective environment, and under a disciplined structure, necessary lifestyle guidance and vocational guidance to adapt to life in society are provided, and medical care for mental and physical disorders that may interfere with their rehabilitation is also given.

 Women's Guidance Homes

The Ministry of Justice:History of Corrections and What We Do (2024)


What can we learn from the history of corrections? ›

Lessons to be learned from the rise, failure, and persistence of the penitentiary are that it is an error to assume that what will motivate one group will necessarily motivate another; reform in itself is suspect; prisons exist to ensure the maintenance of a particular social structure; and a bad idea will persist so ...

What is the early history of corrections? ›

The earliest records of prisons date back to 1000 BC, in the early historical civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. These early prisons were mostly detention centers built as underground dungeons. Offenders would be held there until they were sentenced to either death or slavery.

What are the three purposes of corrections? ›

Abstract. Four different goals of corrections are commonly espoused: retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation.

What are the big four of corrections? ›

Specifically, the most relevant risk factors are criminal history, antisocial attitudes, associates, and personality (with the latter three being criminogenic needs). These are referred to as the “Big Four” (Andrews and Bonta, 2003).

Why do we study the history of corrections? ›

As social critics ourselves, we can use the history of corrections to identify a series of “themes” that run through correctional practice, even up to today. Such themes will reinforce the tried yet true maxim, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (Santayana, 1905, p. 284).

What are the 5 purposes of corrections? ›

- See NCJ-88305) The goals of corrections are incapacitation, deterrence, rehabilitation, social reintegration, and retribution, with restitution also receiving recent emphasis.

Who are the important people in corrections history? ›

Bentham, Beccaria, John Howard, and William Penn were all especially influential in changing our ideas about crime, punishment, and corrections. Correctional reforms, whether meant to increase the use of humane treatment of inmates or to increase their secure control, often lead to unintended consequences.

Why is jail called corrections? ›

Jails and prisons are called correctional facilities because they are meant to help correct the person's behavior so that person does not commit any more crimes.

How have corrections changed over the years? ›

An era of progress and reform arrived with a move away from the brutal environment of prisons or corrective institutions towards one of work and training. However, since 1960 there has been a surge in criminality and violence and a gradual return to getting tough on crime and looking to a more punitive justice model.

What is the primary mission of corrections? ›

While the primary mission of corrections is protection of the public, many in this field are involved with the treatment, education, and reintegration of offenders.

What is the main purpose of corrections? ›

In conclusion, the purpose of corrections in the criminal justice system is multifaceted. It seeks to rehabilitate offenders, deter potential criminals, protect the public, and provide just retribution for crimes committed.

What are the two major functions of corrections? ›

Correctional officers play a pivotal role in protecting public safety. They separate individuals convicted of crimes from communities as they serve out their sentences, and they also help those who have completed their sentences to live law-abiding lives through a variety of reentry services.

What is the biggest problem in corrections today? ›

Answer & Explanation. 1. The biggest challenge facing the correctional system today is overcrowding. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of inmates in state and federal prisons in the United States has increased by more than 700% since 1970.

How does the correctional system punish offenders? ›

incarceration in a prison, jail, or other confinement facility. probation - allowing the convicted person to remain at liberty but subject to certain conditions and restrictions such as drug testing or drug treatment. fines - primarily applied as penalties in minor offenses.

What is the primary difference between prisons and jails? ›

Jail and prison are two separate entities that are often mixed up. The difference between jail and prison is mostly the length of stay for inmates. Jail is more for a short-term sentence, while prison is for those with a long-term sentence.

What lessons can today's correctional professionals learn from the historical punishment practices covered in this chapter? ›

The lesson that today corrections professional can learn form the past practices are that historically the punishment was towards humanitarian considerations and optimistic thoughts. The practices that should not be reinstated would be anything that causes the prisoner physical harm while in prison.

What constant themes appear throughout the history of corrections? ›

Other than the influence of money and politics and a sense of greater compassion/ humanity in correctional operation, the following themes are also apparent in corrections history: the question of how to use labor and technology (which are hard to decouple from monetary considerations); a decided religious influence; ...

Why are corrections important? ›

Separating the Innocent from the Criminals

The correctional system is designed to keep society at large safe by separating them from individuals who have committed crimes. This is brought about by incarcerating the convicted criminal in a jail or prison.

What role does corrections play in society? ›

Correctional officers play a pivotal role in protecting public safety. They separate individuals convicted of crimes from communities as they serve out their sentences, and they also help those who have completed their sentences to live law-abiding lives through a variety of reentry services.


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