Female Inmates Admitted to Junior High Prison School for First Time

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A female prisoner, left, speaks during a school entrance ceremony held Tuesday in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.

MATSUMOTO, Nagano — Five female prisoners on Tuesday enrolled in a junior high school located within Matsumoto Juvenile Prison in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture. Aged from their 20s to 60s, the five became the first female prisoners to be admitted to the Kiri Branch School of municipal Asahimachi Junior High School, the only junior high established inside a Japanese prison.

The five will learn from the compulsory education curriculum for one year, take classes for seven hours a day and have self-study time.

Kiri Branch School was set up with the purpose of rehabilitating prisoners back to society in 1955, when about 80% of inmates had not completed compulsory education.

Due to limitations in facility and staff, 776 prisoners who graduated from the school up until the last academic year were all male. However, as many women expressed wishes to enroll, the school began accepting inmates from female prisons nationwide from this academic year after the Justice Ministry secured female staff and toilets. No male students enrolled for this academic year.

During an entrance ceremony on Tuesday held at the prison’s gymnasium, warden Toru Nakamichi told the female inmates, “I hope you will study hard, fully thinking on being given a chance to relearn during your sentences.”

Representing the five, a woman in her 60s pledged, “We will work diligently in our everyday classes and studies and hope to grow as human beings as well.”