Your Daily Dose of English

March 28, 2018

Japanese Prisons, Verbs without Subjects, Interactive Activities

Japanese Prisons Become Haven for the Elderly

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Source: Bloomberg

Japan has begun to deal with an unexpected problem: senior crime. With the worlds’s oldest population (27.3 percent of its citizens are 65 or older), complaints involving elderly people, especially women, are increasing more than in any other group.

Their crimes are usually minor—9 in 10 senior women who’ve been convicted were found guilty of shoplifting. Why have so many elderly women resorted to petty theft?

In a 2017 survey, the Tokyo government discovered that more than half of those caught stealing live alone, and say they have nobody to turn to. Even those who do live with someone say they don’t really feel at home. And many of them struggle with financial problems. This has led these women to consider jail a haven, providing a sense of community and stability.

Neither the government nor the private sector has established an effective rehabilitation program for seniors, and the costs to keep them in prison are rising fast. Specialized workers have been hired to help older inmates with bathing and toileting during the day, but at night these tasks are handled by guards. Many times, being a correctional officer has come to resemble being a nursing-home attendant.

Ms. N., 80 years old

One inmate, Ms. N, 80, tells her story:

“I was alone every day and feeling very lonely. My husband gave me a lot of money, and people always told me how lucky I was, but money wasn’t what I wanted. It didn’t make me happy at all.  “The first time I shoplifted was about 13 years ago. I wandered into a bookstore in town and stole a paperback novel. I was caught, taken to a police station, and questioned by the sweetest police officer. He was so kind. He listened to everything I wanted to say. I felt I was being heard for the first time in my life. In the end, he gently tapped on my shoulder and said, ‘I understand you were lonely, but don’t do this again.’

“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.”

Dose of the Day

Verbs with No Subject

É muito comum começarmos frases com verbos em português. Porém, em inglês, só podemos começar uma frase com verbos se estivermos usando o imperativo.

Exemplos: Stop! Slow down! Come here

Vejamos alguns casos mais comuns.

1. Quando há um sujeito na frase, mas vem depois do sujeito.

Nesse caso é só inverter o sujeito com o verbo.

Exemplo: Chegou sua encomendaYour order arrived.

2. Quando o sujeito é inexistente.

Nesse caso, usa-se o pronome it.

Exemplo: Está chovendo – It’s raining.

3. Quando o sujeito é oculto

Nesse caso, tire o sujeito de seu esconderijo.

Exemplo: Saíram 5 minutos atrás – They left five minutos ago.

Now do these exercises:

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