Thursday, 27. January 2011
This is an interesting one related to D&D. Hat tip to Geeks are Sexy for pointing it out. Well, “weird” may be more accurate but it’s still worth pointing out. The seventh circuit court of United States Court of Appeals has ruled that
“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 wall.”
Go ahead, read the link at Geeks if you don’t want to read the entire brief, then come back here and comment!
I have to admit, I have mixed feelings over this. For starters, I am of the belief that hard time in prisons is supposed to be well.. hard time. This is further complicated by the fact in addition to punishment (the entire purpose of going there), it would be nice if the system had some rehabilitative function as well (Which.. is arguably not.) You can further complicate this by the fact that a lot of people are imprisoned for some really inane bullshit. The average American commits an average of 3 felonies a day due to our byzantine and un-understandable to the average person structure of laws.
The 2 obvious holes I see here are..
For starters, the argument that the Dungeon Master “gives directions (like a prison gang leader)” to players is a big stretch. The DM (GM, Storyteller as I prefer to call them) is there to describe what is happening, as well as acting as an arbiter of the rules. I guess I could imagine seeing them using D&D as a talk around to give directions as to who needs a beating and who needs to be knocked off, but it’s not like you couldn’t figure that out real fast.
Secondly, even if the game did lead to some prison gang related activity.. so what? It’s not like the prisons curb that crap anyways, so they’ll just find another way around it to organize. If that’s the case that it happens, -then- you ban it locally. Otherwise it’s just another waste of time and money.
Thirdly, if you’re engrossed in D&D it’s probably pretty hard by definition to engage in gang activity. Role playing is really some entertainment and escapism (Which is prime time for certain at prisons) so I could imagine why it would be popular based off of that alone. Hell, maybe it would help with some rehabilitation as well..
Whats your thoughts?