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Volunteer probation officers (VPOs), known as hogo-shi, are playing an important role in helping rehabilitate convicts and minors released from prison or juvenile reformatories on probation, and adults and minors who have been placed on probation without going to prison or reformatories.

Although VPOs work under the Justice Ministry’s probation offices as volunteers, they are given the status of national public servants. The hogo-shi system has lasted more than 60 years and been adopted by some developing countries. But work for VPOs is heavy and their ranks are aging. The government needs to extend more support to them.

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