The Yomiuri Shimbun The Justice Ministry plans to assign probation officers who specialize in dealing with drug addicts to major probation offices nationwide from fiscal 2017, sources close to the ministry said.
The high recidivism rate among drug-related crimes has become an issue, prompting the ministry to seek to enhance its ties with medical institutions that serve as bases for preventing repeat offenses.
According to the ministry, from fiscal 2017, a chief probation officer who mainly deals with drug addicts will be put in each of the country’s 12 major probation offices, including in Tokyo, Osaka and other areas. Probation officers give guidance to those who have committed crimes and juvenile delinquents, and supervise them during their everyday life. So far, however, no officers have exclusively specialized in dealing with drug addicts.
The main task of the new probation officers will be to professionally guide people on probation who have repeatedly committed drug-related crimes. The ministry is planning to have drug addicts continue to receive treatment with the help of local medical institutions and welfare facilities, even after they complete special programs at probation offices, and aims to provide detailed support to addicts in accordance with their condition.
According to a 2016 white paper on crime, 39.3 percent of former inmates in violation of the stimulant drugs control law who were released from prison in 2011 returned to jail within five years for the same crime. This figure exceeded the average re-incarceration rate of 23.4 percent.