Japan’s Prisons Are Full of Female Senior Citizens.
Japan has the worlds oldest population, according to BLOOMBERG’S report.
With 27.3% older than sixty-five that is almost twice the number of the U.S.
But the ones who are really suffering are the women. They are suffering so badly the jails are full of women over 65. In fact, 20% of the incarcerated in Japan are women, the majority of them being seniors.
And most of those are there for petty crimes, shoplifting being the number one. They take something insignificant or something they can’t afford with the hopes of landing in prison.
“Why have so many otherwise law-abiding elderly women resorted to petty theft? Caring for Japanese seniors once fell to families and communities, but that’s changing. From 1980 to 2015, the number of seniors living alone increased more than sixfold, to almost 6 million. And a 2017 survey by Tokyo’s government found that more than half of seniors caught shoplifting live alone; 40 percent either don’t have family or rarely speak with relatives. These people often say they have no one to turn to when they need help.”
But the saddest part is these women say they feel invisible. Something one hears here all the time. Even if they have a family and live with a family they feel their use to society is over. Their relevancy a thing of the past.
Most of them are left living in relative poverty compared to the rest of the population. Thus they are spending their days in isolation and with little to eat. So they get themselves thrown in jail in order for some real companionship and three meals a day.
Mrs. O – 78
“Has stolen energy drinks, coffee, tea, a rice ball, a mango Third term, sentenced to one year, five months She has a daughter and a grandson”
“Prison is an oasis for me—a place for relaxation and comfort. I don’t have freedom here, but I have nothing to worry about, either. There are many people to talk to. They provide us with nutritious meals three times a day.
“My daughter visits once a month. She says ‘I don’t feel sorry for you. You’re pathetic.’ I think she’s right.”
Mrs. N – 80 years old – with a wealthy husband
She felt lonely and isolated at home so she started stealing small things.
“I can’t tell you how much I enjoy working in the prison factory. The other day, when I was complimented on how efficient and meticulous I was, I grasped the joy of working. I regret that I never worked. My life would have been different.
“I enjoy my life in prison more. There are always people around, and I don’t feel lonely here. When I got out the second time, I promised that I wouldn’t go back. But when I was out, I couldn’t help feeling nostalgic.”
If you wonder what the sadness in many older people’s eyes is about this situation shines some light on it. The imprisonment and pain of isolation, feeling like you don’t matter to your family, often few resources and having the world treat you like you don’t exist is far more painful and humiliating than living behind bars.
Think about it.
And read the full article in Bloomberg