Friday, January 28, 2011

D&D a Threat to U.S. Prisons

Should I be glad that D&D is still sufficiently subversive in some circles that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld its being prohibited from prisons as being a security threat? Or angry that our judicial system is mentally stuck someplace in the last century? Opening line of ruling from Judge Tinder:
After concluding that the popular role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons (“D&D”) represented a threat to prison security, officials at Wisconsin’s Waupun Correctional Institution took action to eradicate D&D within the prison’s walls.
Primary argument is that team-based play "mimics the organization of a gang", and that the presence of DM/referees may result in "D&D players looking to Dungeon Masters, rather than to the prison’s own carefully constructed hierarchy of authority, for guidance and dispute resolution." Official judgment at AboveTheLaw.com. More comment at GeeksAreSexy.

To answer my own question: Guess I swing more "angry" on this most days.

5 comments:

  1. I personally quite liked the sentiment in the article here. Specifically:

    It’s not about rehabilitation, it’s not about security, it’s about old-school vengeance carried out by state actors. He killed somebody, and we as a society found something else he liked that we can take away. So we’re going to take it away.

    I guess I just find it more comforting to agree with the above quote than to think that our government is really that clueless. Not that it makes what they're doing any better.

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  2. Maybe they don't want the prisoners to escape their prison for a short time by using their imaginations. Shades of [i]Sucker-Punch[/i]?

    (Oh god, captcha = worphe)

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  3. There's a guy on Slashdot asserting:

    I actually watched the oral argument for this case, and the appointed counsel did a really hideous job ... one of the judges (based on the testimony of the correctional officer at trial) was talking about "escapism" being a problem that was promoted by dungeons and dragons, as in it would actually lead to the players escaping from the jail.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1969312&cid=35022342

    It does frustrate me that someone presents specific evidence in the trial that D&D correlates with improved rehabilitation rates, and the ruling actually uses the "you don't really know, that's just statistics" line of thought. Guess what 3 federal judges would fail my stats class?

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  4. Stupidity walks the earth. Personally, as a non-felon I'd feel more comfortable if there was some attempt to 'change' people when they went to prison in the hopes that we wouldn't need to put them back in prison shortly after releasing them --- even if your rehabilitation rate is only 05-10% with a growing prison population such efforts would save the taxpayer (like me) a lot of money... and make me and mine a little safer to boot. However, since many states are outsourcing corrections to for profits, don't look an emphasis on rehabilitation any time soon since full prisons = happy shareholders and it is all about the Benjamins.
    I think if sexual assault and no Dungeons & Dragons are going to be a part of the 'punishment' that prisons dole out, they ought to be a part of the sentencing, too. "Mr. Jones, because you fought the law and the law won, we are sentencing you to 12 years in the County Prison with no less than 4 sexual assaults a month and NO D&D! We hope that after you have served your sentence you will stick to the straight and narrow!"
    Idiots.
    My favorite quote from the aforementioned article is, "The prison had the testimony of Captain Bruce Muraski, a gang specialist, whose testimony makes me wish that we had better gang specialists..."

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  5. Limpey, I do agree with that.

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