Crime & Legal

Group therapy curbs sex offenders’ recidivism, Japanese Justice Ministry says

Kyodo

The Justice Ministry said Friday a sex offenders’ group therapy program in prisons has proved to be effective, markedly cutting the recidivism rate for participants compared with the rate for nonparticipants.

Seeing a similar trend among those on probation who took part in the program, a ministry official said, “The program is functioning to a certain degree, and we would like to brush it up to enhance its effectiveness.”

The state-run program, which started in 2006 and took cues from overseas programs, targets offenders incarcerated for sex crimes such as rape and indecent assault. Participants engage in group discussions and plan what kind of life they want to lead in the future.

The ministry’s second survey on the program’s effectiveness followed up on 1,444 participants and 324 nonparticipants who left prisons between January 2012 and December 2014 and compared the rate of repeat sex offenses committed in the three years after release from jail.

The rate stood at 15.0 percent for participants, compared with 22.5 percent for nonparticipants.

Among 901 people on probation who took part in the program from 2014, the recidivism rate through March 2019 was 15.1 percent, while that for 297 nonparticipants on probation was 26.2 percent.

The first survey conducted in 2012 also showed the recidivism rate was cut by group therapy.

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