Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Japan’s retirees turn to crime for a better life in prison...

Japan’s prison system is being driven to budgetary crisis by demographics, a welfare shortfall and a new, pernicious breed of villain: The recidivist retiree. And the silver-haired crooks, say academics, are desperate to be behind bars.

Crime figures show about 35 per cent of shoplifting offences are committed by people over 60. Within that age bracket, 40 per cent of repeat offenders have committed the same crime more than six times.

There is good reason, concludes a report, to suspect the shoplifting crime wave, in particular, represents an attempt by those convicted to end up in prison — an institution with free food, accommodation and healthcare.

The mathematics of recidivism are gloomily compelling for the would-be convict. Even with a frugal diet and dirt-cheap accommodation, a single Japanese retiree with minimal savings has living costs more than 25 per cent higher than the meagre basic state pension of ¥780,000 (S$9,415) a year, according to a study on the economics of elderly crime by Mr Michael Newman of Tokyo-based research house Custom Products Research. Full story...

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