Between freedom and prison, many Japanese pensioners have chosen prison. Why? Because they would rather have a roof over their heads and food in prison than live in utter poverty. A Japanese pensioner explained it in his own words in an article from French newspaper Le Monde.
'In prison, [my friend] is warm, he's fed and if he's sick, he's taken care of... Because he's a repeat offender, he was sentenced to two years... One day I may have to do like him,' he says about one of his friends.
As the living conditions of Japanese pensioners are becoming more and more complicated, they are turning into outlaws, resorting to petty theft (food theft, for example), in order to end up in a warm cell, which then becomes a kind of retirement home for them.
This 'phenomenon that has appeared over the past decade is getting worse,' according to the journalist from Le Monde, who initiated this survey: 21.1% of the people arrested in 2017 were over 65 years old. In 2000, this age group represented only.... 5.8% of the prison population.
These older prisoners, who have done everything they can to go to prison, represent 'new burdens for the prison administration,' especially since they 'have difficulty hearing and delay in carrying out orders; some are incontinent, others have mobility problems and sometimes need help with feeding and washing.' This trend is spreading to other neighbouring countries, such as South Korea, where some employees even pay to go to prison.