Japan's prisons swell with elderly inmates
A 92-year-old man in a wheelchair exercises with a care worker in a courtyard at the Tokushima prison in Tokushima, Japan. The man in the wheelchair is not in a nursing home. He is in prison, serving a life sentence for murder and rape. The others...more
Their prison, in Tokushima, 520 km (325 miles) west of Tokyo, converted a building to house elderly inmates, putting itself at the forefront of an effort to cope with Japan's graying prisoner population. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
An 81-year-old man, imprisoned for life for killing a taxi driver and injuring another six decades ago, kneels down during an interview with Reuters. The number of prisoners aged 60 or older has risen 7 percent from a decade ago to 9,308, and made up...more
A newspaper is seen in a hospital ward at the Tokushima prison. A sizeable chunk of elderly inmates are repeat offenders, which experts say reflects the difficulties of finding jobs after release and coping with the uncertainty freedom...more
"I have a heart condition and used to collapse often at the (prison) factory," said an 81-year-old inmate at Tokushima, imprisoned for life for killing a taxi driver and injuring another person six decades ago. Prison rules forbid publishing his...more
A prison officer helps an elderly inmate during a check of the inmate's mobility function. About two dozen prisoners live, eat and work in the special building set aside for elderly prisoners who cannot do regular work such as making shoes and...more
A bathroom is seen at the Tokushima prison. In a rare look inside a Japanese prison, Reuters visited the Tokushima facility and interviewed inmates who spend most of their days in large cells that sleep four or five, engaged in paper-folding projects...more
A 92-year-old man is helped by a care worker on his bed in a hospital ward. Workers chop up noodles and other foods for those who have difficulty chewing and swallowing. The prison also employs a caregiver trained in working with the elderly for...more
An 81-year-old man, imprisoned for life for killing a taxi driver and injuring another six decades ago, kneels down during an interview with Reuters. Despite his life sentence, the 81-year-old has been released twice on parole, but wound up back in...more
Elderly inmates are seen behind dishes after lunch. The Ministry of Justice said it didn't have information on what changes prisons have made to adapt to elderly prisoners, as such decisions are up to each facility. Calls to 13 of Japan's major...more
An elderly inmate works as feet of a prison officer is reflected on a window in a special building in Tokushima. When the prison in Takamatsu, a city in western Japan, built a new three-story building in 2010, for example, it set aside the first...more
Toilets are seen in a playground at the Tokushima prison. The Tokushima prison tries to ensure that ageing prisoners stay healthy without making conditions too comfortable, said Kenji Yamaguchi, the treatment director there. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
The Tokushima prison is seen from a mountain. Talking is forbidden during working hours, cells have no air conditioning, and prisoners can only bathe twice a week in winter and three times a week in summer. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Elderly inmates perform a slow-paced exercise in a special building set aside for elderly. "As they await their eventual release, we also want to see them leave in good health," Yamaguchi said. "Some may think we are cutting them too much slack. But...more
Elderly inmates perform a slow-paced exercise. But returning to life "on the outside" can be tough for older men. About a quarter of inmates 65 and older end up back in prison within two years, the highest of any age group, according to government...more
Elderly inmates perform a slow-paced exercise. "If you are young, you can find a job and have a chance to lead a normal life," said Yasuyuki Deguchi, a professor at Tokyo Future University. "The lack of employment opportunities combined with...more
Elderly inmates return to their room after performing slow-paced exercises. Of those jailed in 2016, 36 percent of those older than 60 were in prison for at least the sixth time, far higher than the 16 percent for all prisoners incarcerated that...more
An elderly inmate lunches as a prison officer looks around. A 71-year-old ex-prisoner who was in jail seven times for theft and fraud said a lack of jobs and shelter drove him to back to crime. "There are few jobs once you've passed 65. As long as...more
A male prisoner in his early 70s, serving a 13-year term for murder, kneels down during an interview with Reuters. Seven and a half years through a 13-year sentence for murder, a man in his early 70s in the Tokushima prison said he was already...more
A prison officer bows to a grave for inmates outside the Tokushima prison. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
A prison officer looks around in a special building set aside for elderly. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
An 81-year-old man, imprisoned for life for killing a taxi driver and injuring another six decades ago, attends an interview with Reuters. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
A prison officer looks around at the Tokushima prison. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
The Tokushima prison is seen in Tokushima, Japan. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
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