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2008年11月 9日 (日)

高齢者犯罪

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 9, 2008)

To deter crime by elderly, integrate aged in society

高齢者犯罪 社会から疎外しない施策を(119日付・読売社説)

It is an urgent task to stop the number of elderly criminal offenders from rising.

 高齢者による犯罪の増加に、どう歯止めをかけるのか。早急に対処すべき問題である。

The 2008 white paper on crime, compiled by the Justice Ministry and released Friday, reports the circumstances and treatment of elderly criminal offenders. It notes that while the number of people aged 65 or older has doubled in the past 20 years, the number of elderly criminal offenders has risen fivefold in the same period.

 法務省がまとめた今年の犯罪白書は「高齢犯罪者の実態と処遇」を特集した。65歳以上の高齢者数は、この20年間で2倍になったのに対し、検挙された高齢者は5倍にも増えた。

Last year, a record-high 48,600 senior citizens were arrested on suspicion of committing crimes, excluding traffic-related offenses. The number is expected to increase further when members of the baby-boom generation enter their senior years.

 昨年1年間では、過去最高の約4万8600人の高齢者が、交通事故以外の刑法犯罪を犯し、警察に逮捕されるなどした。今後、団塊の世代が高齢者になると、さらに増える見通しだという。

A rise in the number of crimes committed by senior citizen is a negative aspect of the aging society. As the white paper says, countermeasures for the problem should be pursued by society as a whole, so support in this endeavor is needed from a wide variety of fields, including the courts, the welfare system and companies.

 高齢者による犯罪の増加は、高齢化社会の負の側面といえる。白書が、「社会全体での対策」を求めているように、司法だけでなく、福祉、雇用など幅広い分野での対応が必要である。

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Elderly a burden on prisons

Medical expenses at prisons and detention houses now total 2 billion yen annually. As the number of aged inmates will continue to rise, drug costs will further balloon, putting further administrative burdens on these facilities. To limit the cost to the taxpayer, it is important to deter criminal offenses by the elderly.

 刑務所・拘置所での薬剤費は現在、年間約20億円に達している。今後、高齢の受刑者が増えれば、薬剤費はさらに膨らむ。職員の負担も増すだろう。財政面からも、高齢者犯罪の抑止は重要な課題だといえる。

The white paper points out that the typical elderly offender lives alone, is estranged from his or her relatives and is financially unstable. The largest number of crimes involving senior citizens relate to theft, including shoplifting, which constituted 65 percent of the total.

 独り身、親族と疎遠、経済的に不安定――。これらが高齢犯罪者の特徴である。最も多い犯罪が万引きなどの窃盗で、全体の65%を占めている。

The main reasons elderly people said they offended were "I was experiencing severe economic circumstances," "I wanted to save money," and "I was hungry." As for female elderly offenders, it is noteworthy that many shoplifted even though they were not short of money at the time of their offense. Such women, the white paper notes, felt isolated.

 「生活が苦しくて」「節約のため」「空腹のため」などが、盗みをする主な理由だ。女性については、一定の所持金があっても万引きをするケースも目立つ。こうした女性は概して疎外感を抱いているという。

Theft tends to be a repeat crime. Even if prosecutors decide not to indict an elderly offender, they should take comprehensive measures to prevent recidivism, including checking on the offender regularly.

 窃盗は繰り返される傾向が強い。検察官は、仮に起訴猶予にしても、定期的にその高齢者と連絡を取るなど、再犯を防ぐきめ細かい対策が求められよう。

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Vicious circle must be broken

As for elderly people who have served a prison sentence, policies are needed to help them break the vicious circle of living in poverty then turning to crime. There are also senior citizens who want to live behind bars to escape poverty. The government should establish halfway houses and rehabilitation programs for elderly ex-convicts.

 刑務所で服役した高齢者に対しては、生活が困窮し、再び犯罪に走る悪循環を断つ施策が大切だ。“刑務所志願”の高齢者もいる。出所後の受け皿整備を進めなくてはならない。

For discharged elderly prisoners with a strong desire to work, providing the opportunity of employment is the most effective way to prevent recidivism. The Justice Ministry, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and other concerned organizations should cooperate to find companies to hire such people.

 働く意欲のある高齢の出所者には、就労の機会を与えることが、再犯防止に最も有効だろう。法務省と厚生労働省などが連携し、働き口の開拓が必要だ。

For released elderly prisoners who have no relatives and are unable to work for physical reasons, arrangements should be made to enable them to enter welfare facilities, such as nursing care homes.

 身寄りがなく、体力的に就労が難しい出所者については、老人ホームなど福祉施設に入所できる体制整備が求められる。

The Justice Ministry is planning to ask private facilities offering support and rehabilitation to released convicts, which mainly have accepted young parolees, to take on released elderly prisoners.

 法務省は、主に若年の仮釈放者を受け入れてきた民間の更生保護施設にも、高齢の出所者を引き受けてもらう方針だ。

To prevent senior citizens from reoffending, it is vital that they are not isolated from society.

 高齢者を社会から孤立させない。犯罪を抑止するには、それが肝要である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 9, 2008)

20081190148  読売新聞)

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