Conflict and Expertise of Volunteer Probation Officers in Their Treatment Practices As "Civilians": Focusing on the Establishment and Development Phase of Offender Rehabilitation System in Japan

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Michiko KATO, Rikkyo University, Japan
In recent years, the prevention of re-offending and juvenile delinquency is regarded as one of the important issues for "establishing the safest country" in Japanese criminal justice policy. In addressing this issue, the volunteer probation officers(VPOs) who are community members are given an important role as civilians. They work with no pay and encourage probationer to rehabilitation in cooperation with probation officers who are civil-service workers and have specialized knowledge and skills for treatment of offenders. One of the characteristics of probation in Japan is that the way of treatment practices is different by every VPOs. This presentation discusses conflicts and expertise of VPOs in their treatment practices as "civilians", focusing on the treatment practices of the VPOs in the 1950s and 1960s, which is in the process of establishing and developing the offender rehabilitation system. In analysis, journal articles written about treatment practices of VPOs are examined. This journal is made for a person who are interested in offender rehabilitation and particularly VPOs are supposed to be the main readers. The journal includes such things as required knowledge, view of treatment and how to deal with difficult cases. As a result of the analysis, it shows that the journal has become a place for accumulation of "experiences" beyond provision of "knowledge" about treatment, and it played a role as a "practical community." In addition, it can be pointed out that treatment practices tend towards one direction centralizedly to respond to society 's eyes to offenders and juvenile delinquents. However, on the other hand, it also reveals the diversity of treatment by VPOs, such as trying to improve the lives of the probationer with utilizing the resources available.