Of imprisoned women in Japan, nearly one in five is a senior citizen. Repeat offenders, many of these women live lonely lives even in the company of husbands and children. They’re turning to petty theft and are thriving in prison, a place where they find the companionship and security lacking in their lives on the outside. Shiho Fukada brings us the story at Bloomberg Businessweek. The Pulitzer Center provided funding for this story.

Ms. O, 78
Has stolen energy drinks, coffee, tea, a rice ball, a mango
Third term, sentenced to one year, five months
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.”

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