Hyogo Prefecture to introduce a program to help the elderly and disabled who have been charged with a crime

Written with Extracts from the Kobe Shimbun

May 6th 2018

HYOGO – an initiative will start in the autumn whereby the elderly or am intellectually disabled person who has been charged a with a crime and possibly sentenced to imprisonment will be put into contact with welfare services as soon as they are released .

The counselor will interview the suspect during the detention, searching for necessary support and receiving facilities and doing so. There are few cases where municipalities embark on “entrance support” at the time of arrest and at the trial stage, and the Ministry of Justice also draws attention as “an epochal effort”.

Under the new initiative, when an elderly person or an intellectually disabled person who tends to have dementia is arrested by shoplifting; a counselor from a social welfare corporation entrusted by the prefecture who received information from prosecutors, lawyers, police will visit person in a detention facility.

An interview with the suspect and coordinate with the person in charge of each city town to provide appropriate support and reception facilities. It also covers people who have been given suspended sentence that tends to leak from the conventional support network and will also work as a bridge between welfare fields in cooperation with probation officers.

The programme will start around October and we aim to support about 100 people per year.

According to the statistics of the Ministry of Justice, the percentage of people who left prisons in 2015, who committed crimes and committed prisons again within two years (reentry rate) was 18.0%. In terms of over 65, 23.2% (up 2.8 points from the previous year), there are many inmates who tend to have dementia.

There is data that 62% of sentenced persons with intellectual disabilities (including suspicion) are reentrying, and it is urgent to take counter-measures against elderly people and persons with disabilities who committed crime.

The “public entrance support” has been mainly focused on the public prosecutor’s office that judges criminal disposition, has secured housing and work support, but the prefecture said “The municipality that knows the welfare scene is more smooth, It can be connected to aid support “. The public prosecutors office repeatedly coordinated with the Ministry of Justice and decided to work seriously. Local governments’ entrance support is limited to Nagasaki prefecture and others who have long worked on prevention of repeat offenders of intellectually disabled people, and the Ministry says, “The measures to repeat offenses are an important issue of the country, I want to spread the obtained know-how etc. to the whole country “

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