I went to a prison in Shiga(that’s in the countryside-ish for those who don’t live in Japan) and took a tour with my Problems in Modern Japanese History and Politics class, and some other classes by the same professor.
First of all, the prison we went to is a class A prison. Class A means that it only contains first time offenders of non-capital crimes. They serve there for a max of 8 years and an average around 3.
It wasn’t that bad of a place. I mean, I wouldn’t want to go there, but it was not some dank, dirty dungeon. It was very clean and well ordered.
It seemed like they were prepared for having visitors to the prison. Dr Scott said that mostly university students come but not very often.
There are no weapons on the grounds. The guards are trained in martial arts. Not kung fu or anything, just practical stuff to get people on the ground quickly. In fact guards that hit prisoners are fired, first offense.
In prison in Japan, you work. you work an average work day, 8:30 to 5:30 or so with breaks on things that your entrance exam says you will be good at. Yes, even prisons have entrance exams.
You get free time in the evenings. The prisoners can watch tv, play games and participate in clubs. Like, shodo, Japanese traditional calligraphy.
Religious people come in once a week.
I have a lot more tidbits, but they aren’t properly threaded together so I’ll leave it at that for now. Admittedly this is more notes than a proper blog post, but whatever.