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Shimane Asahi:  Japan looks to the Amity Prison TC initiative as a model to reduce recidivism

Shimane Asahi Rehabilitation Program, the first correctional facility of its kind in an Asian country, illustrates the international impact of Amity Foundation and the United States Therapeutic Community (TC) initiative. Shimane Asahi began operating in Asahi Town, Hamada City, Japan in October 2008. Dedicated to the genuine rehabilitation of prisoners and their reintegration into society, developers of Shimane Asahi looked to the United States and Amity Foundation as a model for using prison therapeutic community methodology to reduce recidivism. Lifers: Reaching for Life Behind the Walls, a provocative film about the personal experience of participants in an Amity prison program, inspired stakeholders, including Japan’s Ministry of Justice, to support this initiative. The study, translation, and implementation of Extensions curriculum,, designed for adult substance abusers with extensive histories of violence, victimization, incarceration, and relapse, is an integral part of Shimane Asahi’s aim to direct prisoners toward a lifestyle which avoids reoffending and causing harm to oneself or others. Naya Arbiter, Principal, Extensions LLC, and Rod Mullen, President and CEO, Amity Foundation have visited Japan, providing consultation and training for faculty and staff at Shimane Asahi.

Junko Fujioka, professor of educational psychology at Osaka University, along with colleagues and students, will visit Amity’s Circle Tree Ranch in November 2010. Professor Fujioka is a licensed clinical psychologist who has worked for the Japanese Ministry of Justice for 20 years. Her involvement in the design and development of Shimane Asahi reflects her interest in integrating restorative justice and cognitive behavioral therapy into prison TC methodology to effectively reduce recidivism rates. Junko Fujioka, Naya Arbiter, and Rod Mullen will present on the topic of their groundbreaking collaboration at the Therapeutic Communities of America National Addiction Treatment and Prevention Conference "Healthy Families, Safe Communities", November 7-10, 2010 in Washington, DC.

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