Factors Associated with Drug-Related Recidivism Among Paroled Amphetamine-Type Stimulant Users in Japan


Few studies have used longitudinal data to investigate drug-related recidivism among drug users in Asia. This study examined demographic and background characteristics that predicted drug-related recidivism among paroled amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS) users in Japan who participated in a mandatory educational program throughout their parole period conducted by professional and volunteer probation officers. Analyzing data released in 2017 by the Ministry of Justice in Japan, we reviewed 10-year recidivism rates of 1807 individuals placed on parole in 2003 (1561 men and 246 women, mean age = 37.5 [SD = 9.8]). We investigated the possible association between the length of parole and drug-related recidivism in Japan based on the continuing care model for individuals with drug addiction, which has not been previously explored. The results showed a 47.5% drug-related recidivism rate for all participants. Younger age, a higher number of previous prison sentences, a longer prison sentence, shorter parole, and a diagnosis of mental disorders were significantly associated with a higher drug-related recidivism rate. The presence of a higher number of previous prison sentences and a longer prison sentence were risk factors for drug-related recidivism, which suggests that incarcerating ATS users is ineffective for reducing drug-related recidivism. These results indicated a possible application of the continuing care model for assisting ATS users in Japan with further research.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    We assessed the degree of collinearity between variables. Regarding drug-related recidivism, a correlation coefficient over 0.5 was observed only between age and the number of previous prison sentences (r = .56), the variance inflation factors (VIF) ranged from 1.02 to 1.84, showing no evidence of problematic levels of multicollinearity.


  1. Asakura, K., Sato, T., Sato, H., Morishita, T., & Yagi, K. (Eds.). (1981). Correction and rehabilitation of offenders in Japan (Vol. 3). Tokyo: Yuhikaku (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Brown, B. S., O’Grady, K., Battjes, R. J., & Farrell, E. V. (2004). Factors associated with treatment outcomes in an aftercare population. American Journal on Addictions. https://doi.org/10.1080/10550490490512780.

  3. Chiang, S. C., Chan, H. Y., Chen, C. H., Sun, H. J., Chang, H. J., Chen, W. J., et al. (2006). Recidivism among male subjects incarcerated for illicit drug use in Taiwan. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1819.2006.01530.x.

  4. Compton, W. M., Cottler, L. B., Jacobs, J. L., Ben-Abdallah, A., & Spitznagel, E. L. (2003). The role of psychiatric disorders in predicting drug dependence treatment outcomes. The American Journal of Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.160.5.890.

  5. Dennis, M. L., & Scott, C. K. (2007). Managing addiction as a chronic condition. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 4(1), 45–55 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2797101/pdf/ascp-04-1-45.pdf. Accessed 16 May 2019.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Dennis, M. L., & Scott, C. K. (2005). The duration and correlates of addiction and treatment careers. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2004.10.013.

  7. Emmelkamp, P. M. G., & Vedel, E. (2006). Evidence-based treatment for alcohol and drug abuse: a practitioner’s guide to theory, methods, and practice. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Fleury, M. J., Djouini, A., Huýnh, C., Tremblay, J., Ferland, F., Ménard, J. M., & Belleville, G. (2016). Remission from substance use disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.08.625.

  9. Hall, E. A., Prendergast, M. L., Wellisch, J., Patten, M., & Cao, Y. (2004). Treating drug-abusing women prisoners: an outcomes evaluation of the Forever Free Program. The Prison Journal. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032885503262456.

  10. Harada, T. (2010). The effectiveness of the brief prison-based methamphetamine abuse treatment program. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice. https://doi.org/10.1080/01924036.2010.9678835.

  11. Harada, T. (2012). The randomized controlled trial of the prison-based Japanese Matrix Program (J-MAT) for methamphetamine abusers. Japanese Journal of Alcohol Studies & Drug Dependence, 47, 298–307 (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Harada, T., & Shinkai, H. (2010). New initiatives for drug abuse treatment in Japanese prisons. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice. https://doi.org/10.1080/01924036.2010.9678836.

  13. Harada, Y., & Tamura, M. (1990). A study on the recidivism of stimulant drug offenders: an application of survival analysis. Reports of the National Research Institute of Police Science: Research on Prevention of Crime and Delinquency, 31, 10–19 (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  14. Harrison, P. A., & Asche, S. E. (2001). Outcomes monitoring in Minnesota: treatment implications, practical limitations. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0740-5472(01)00199-4.

  15. Hser, Y. I., & Anglin, M. D. (2011). Addiction treatment and recovery careers. In J. F. Kelly & W. L. White (Eds.), Addiction recovery management: theory, research and practice (pp. 9–29). New York: Humana Press.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Hser, Y. I., Grella, C. E., Hsieh, S. C., Anglin, M. D., & Brown, B. S. (1999). Prior treatment experience related to process and outcomes in DATOS. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0376-8716(99)00081-2.

  17. Imafuku, S. (2013). Offenders rehabilitation and partially suspended sentence. Japanese Journal of Offenders Rehabilitation, 3, 20–35 (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  18. Imai, T. (2010). Partially suspended sentence. Criminal Law Journal, 23, 2–13 (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  19. Inciardi, J. A., Martin, S. S., & Butzin, C. A. (2004). Five-year outcomes of therapeutic community treatment of drug-involved offenders after release from prison. Crime & Delinquency. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011128703258874.

  20. Johnson, J. E., Friedmann, P. D., Green, T. C., Harrington, M., & Taxman, F. S. (2011). Gender and treatment response in substance use treatment-mandated parolees. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2010.11.013.

  21. Kawakami, K., Nakayama, Y., Furuta, Y., Harada, K., Kawamura, H., & Watanabe, S. (Eds.). (2012). Code of Criminal Procedure (2nd ed.). Tokyo: Seirin Shoin.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Kertesz, S. G., Horton, N. J., Friedmann, P. D., Saitz, R., & Samet, J. H. (2003). Slowing the revolving door: stabilization programs reduce homeless persons’ substance use after detoxification. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0740-5472(03)00026-6.

  23. Kikkawa, T. (2009). The society of educational disparity. Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  24. Koike, S. (2015). Suspended sentence decisions. The Horitsu Jiho, 87(7), 38–45 (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  25. Liu, J. (2009). Asian criminology – challenges, opportunities, and directions. Asian Journal of Criminology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11417-009-9066-7.

  26. Marlatt, G. A., & Donovan, D. M. (Eds.). (2005). Relapse prevention: maintenance strategies in the treatment of addictive behaviors (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Matsumoto, T. (2012). Substance use and addictive disorders. Tokyo: Kongo Shuppan (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  28. Matsumoto, T., Koto, G., & Kamioka, H. (Eds.). (2017). Harm reduction: a social decision for drug problem. Tokyo: Chugai Igakusha (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  29. Matsumoto, T., Takano, A., Kumakura, Y., Usami, T., Ban, E., & Kubota, K. (2019). Development of the cohort study system for drug addicts on probation: the “Voice Bridges Project”. Japanese Journal of Offenders Rehabilitation, 14, 3–18 (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  30. McKay, J. R. (2005). Is there a case for extended interventions for alcohol and drug use disorders? Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.01208.x.

  31. McKay, J. R. (2009). Continuing care research: what we have learned and where we are going. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2008.10.004.

  32. McKay, J. R. (2011). Continuing care and recovery. In J. F. Kelly & W. L. White (Eds.), Addiction recovery management: theory, research and practice (pp. 163–183). New York: Humana Press.

    Google Scholar 

  33. McKay, J. R., Carise, D., Dennis, M. L., Dupont, R., Humphreys, K., Kemp, J., et al. (2009). Extending the benefits of addiction treatment: practical strategies for continuing care and recovery. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2008.10.005.

  34. McLellan, A. T., Alterman, A. I., Metzger, D. S., Grissom, G. R., Woody, G. E., Luborsky, L., & O’Brien, C. P. (1994). Similarity of outcome predictors across opiate, cocaine, and alcohol treatments: role of treatment services. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-006x.62.6.1141.

  35. McLellan, A. T., Lewis, D. C., O’Brien, C. P., & Kleber, H. D. (2000). Drug dependence, a chronic medical illness: implications for treatment, insurance, and outcomes evaluation. Journal of the American Medical Association. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.284.13.1689.

  36. Melde, C., & Esbensen, F.-A. (2011). Gang membership as a turning point in the life course. Criminology. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2011.00227.x.

  37. Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2012). Motivational interviewing: helping people change (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Ministry of Justice in Japan. (2016). White paper on crime 2016. Tokyo: Nikkei (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  39. Ministry of Justice in Japan. (2018a). Annual report of statistics on correction 2017. https://www.e-stat.go.jp/stat-search/files?page=1&layout=datalist&toukei=00250005&tstat=000001012930&cycle=7&year=20170&month=0 (in Japanese). Accessed 4 February 2019.

  40. Ministry of Justice in Japan. (2018b). Offenders rehabilitation. Tokyo: Research and Training Institute of the Ministry of Justice in Japan (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  41. Ministry of Justice in Japan. (2018c). White paper on crime 2018. Tokyo: Nikkei (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  42. Ministry of Justice in Japan., & National Institute of Mental Health. (2019). Understanding and support for methamphetamine users in Japanese prisons 2018. https://www.ncnp.go.jp/nimh/yakubutsu/reference/pdf/kakuseizai2018.pdf (in Japanese). Accessed 20 May 2019.

  43. Moriyama, T. (2012). Analysing a low crime rate in Japan. In M. Kawai & K. Kozeki (Eds.), Understanding low crime rate in modern Japan (pp. 7–17). Osaka: Japanese Association of Sociological Criminology.

    Google Scholar 

  44. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of drug addiction treatment: a research-based guide (3rd ed.). https://www.drugabuse.gov/node/pdf/675/principles-of-drug-addiction-treatment-a-research-based-guide-third-edition. Accessed 28 January 2019.

  45. Osaka Criminal Practice Study Group. (2011). A treatise on sentencing law and practice in Japanese criminal cases (Vol. 4). Tokyo: Hanrei Times (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  46. Pelissier, B. M. M., Camp, S. D., Gaes, G. G., Saylor, W. G., & Rhodes, W. (2003). Gender differences in outcomes from prison-based residential treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0740-5472(02)00353-7.

  47. Pelissier, B., Wallace, S., O’Neil, J. A., Gaes, G. G., Camp, S., Rhodes, W., & Saylor, W. (2001). Federal prison residential drug treatment reduces substance use and arrests after release. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. https://doi.org/10.1081/ADA-100103712.

  48. Prendergast, M. L., Podus, D., Chang, E., & Urada, D. (2002). The effectiveness of drug abuse treatment: a meta-analysis of comparison group studies. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0376-8716(02)00014-5.

  49. Roberts, A., & Lafree, G. (2004). Explaining Japan’s postwar violent crime trends. Criminology. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2004.tb00517.x.

  50. Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. H. (1993). Crime in the making: pathways and turning points through life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Scott, C. K., & Dennis, M. L. (2011). Recovery management checkups with adult chronic substance users. In J. F. Kelly & W. L. White (Eds.), Addiction recovery management: theory, research and practice (pp. 87–101). New York: Humana Press.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Scott, C. K., Foss, M. A., & Dennis, M. L. (2005). Pathways in the relapse-treatment-recovery cycle over 3 years. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2004.09.006.

  53. Shimane, T. (2018). 2017 Nationwide general population survey on drug use in Japan. https://www.ncnp.go.jp/nimh/yakubutsu/report/pdf/J_NGPS_2017.pdf (in Japanese). Accessed 18 September 2018.

  54. Simpson, D. D. (2004). A conceptual framework for drug treatment process and outcomes. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2004.06.001.

  55. Skinner, H. A. (1982). The drug abuse screening test. Addictive Behaviors. https://doi.org/10.1016/0306-4603(82)90005-3.

  56. Support Center for Overcoming Juvenile Delinquency. (2014). Why people turn to delinquency and how to rehabilitate them. Tokyo: Shinkagaku Shuppansha (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  57. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2009). World drug report 2009. Herndon: United Nations Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  58. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2015). International classification of crime for statistical purposes, Version 1.0. https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/statistics/crime/ICCS/ICCS_English_2016_web.pdf. Accessed 20 October 2018.

  59. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2019). World drug report 2019 (Booklet 2). https://wdr.unodc.org/wdr2019/prelaunch/WDR19_Booklet_2_DRUG_DEMAND.pdf. Accessed 31 August 2019.

  60. Yokotani, K., & Tamura, K. (2015a). Effects of personalized feedback interventions on drug-related reoffending: a pilot study. Prevention Science, 16, 1169–1176. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-015-0571-x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Yokotani, K., & Tamura, K. (2015b). Solution-focused group therapy for drug users in Japanese prison: nonrandomized study. International Journal of Brief Therapy and Family Science, 5, 42–61.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Yokotani, K., & Tamura, K. (2017). The effect of a social reintegration (parole) program on drug-related prison inmates in Japan: a 4-year prospective study. Asian Journal of Criminology, 12, 127–141. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11417-016-9235-4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We would like to thank the Director-General of the Rehabilitation Bureau in the Ministry of Justice in Japan for the approval of this study. We also thank Dr. Toshihiko Matsumoto and the anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments.


The views described in this paper are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Ministry of Justice in Japan.


This study was supported by Grants-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, No. 15K04114.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kyoko Hazama.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

This study was approved by the institutional review board of the Rehabilitation Bureau in the Ministry of Justice in Japan.

Informed consent

In accordance with the Japanese Act on the Protection of Personal Information Held by Administrative Organization, and the Basic Act on Cybersecurity, the Director-General of the Rehabilitation Bureau in the Ministry of Justice in Japan permitted the authors to use ATS users’ information, which was anonymized and de-identified before analysis. Accordingly, we did not obtain informed consent from the participants.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hazama, K., Katsuta, S. Factors Associated with Drug-Related Recidivism Among Paroled Amphetamine-Type Stimulant Users in Japan. Asian J Criminol 15, 109–122 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11417-019-09299-8

Download citation


  • Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS)
  • Continuing care model
  • Drug users
  • Drug-related recidivism
  • Japan
  • Parole