Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Under Japan's new Offenders Rehabilitation Law, part of a the country's recently approved Program Outline for the Relief of Crime Victims, specially appointed probation officers will be assigned to meet with victims to hear their stories--which often tell of lives changed completely as a result of the crime, and a deep-rooted resentment toward the offenders. Victims' sentiments and circumstances will then be conveyed as faithfully as possible to the officers in charge of the offenders.
The system comes in response to a surge of nongovernmental bodies stressing to the Diet that criminals are too often unaware of how large an impact their actions have on the physical, mental and economic well- being of their victims--with effects that can often stretch over many years. According to the legislation's supporters, given that offenders on probation are seen to be making a certain amount of progress, their rehabilitation can be further hastened by having them squarely face up to the consequences of their behavior. The program is only for parolees, not for presently-incarcerated convicted criminals. Mentally unstable parolees who lack the capacity to appreciate the consequences of their actions will be exempted from the system as well. Full story from Daily Yomiuri Online. . . [Michele Berry]