Modern governments have shifted their major functions from coercion to service delivery. Even in such a coercive policy field as correction administration, where the security issue is still a top priority, the style of prison management is changing towards a softer and more responsive system in accordance with new demands from inmates, who are aging, more multicultural and diverse. Having reviewed the characteristics of Japan’s prison management in a comparative perspective, this paper will focus on the recent changes in the correction administration system, with special focus on human resource management and the introduction of the PFI institutions.Historically, Japan’s postwar prison management had been decentralized and flexible, while not well-standardized, but since around 1970 a tightly-controlled prison management system was institutionalized across the country. However, the government started reforming this system’s, legal and practical components, when injuries and fatalities occurred at Nagoya Prison in 2002. In order to put more emphasis on rehabilitation and to mitigate overcrowding, four PFI prisons were established from 2007 to 2008, where prison guards as public servants andstaff of private companies are collaborating in rehabilitation and occupation training of the inmates. Although it is still at an experimental stage, this new style of correction administration seems to replace the traditionally “tight-controlˮ system.When one observes the reality of inmates comparing with patients or handicapped people outside the prison walls, it is becoming harder and harder to draw a clear line between prisons and welfare or medical institutions. While the PFI prisons were introduced to meet the urgent, short-term needs, the reform can have a longer-term impact on the shift of nature of correction administration from a simple coercion for inside safety to a mixture of services including education, training, and welfare for inmates, as well as security for people at large.