Private prison opens in Yamaguchi

Kyodo

The nation’s first prison operated by the private sector opened Sunday in Mine, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The Mine Shakai Fukki Sokushin Center (Mine Social Return Promotion Center) built on 28 hectares does not have any inmates yet. It will soon begin accepting prisoners serving time for their first criminal offense. The prison has the capacity to hold 500 men and 500 women.

“I hope you will live up to expectations and trust toward realizing safe communities by offering high-quality correctional education making use of private-sector creativity,” Justice Minister Jinen Nagase said in an inauguration speech.

The government has consigned most of the prison’s operation, including security, job training and cleaning, to an operating company set up by concerns including a major security firm. The 51.7 billion yen contract runs for 20 years.

The company plans to put emphasis on job training for inmates, offering training in basic computer skills and enabling them to get a hospital clerical worker certificate.

An IC tag will be attached to inmates’ clothing to locate them at all times.