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Prisoner can't play D&D

Dr Archeville

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Prisoner can't play Dungeons

MADISON, Wis. -- A man serving life in prison for first-degree intentional homicide lost his legal battle Monday to play Dungeons & Dragons behind bars.

Kevin T. Singer filed a federal lawsuit against officials at Wisconsin's Waupun prison, arguing that a policy banning all Dungeons & Dragons material violated his free speech and due process rights.

Prison officials instigated the Dungeons & Dragons ban amid concerns that playing the game promoted gang-related activity and was a threat to security. Singer challenged the ban, but the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld it as a reasonable policy.

Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and carry out their adventures, often working together as a group, with the help of complicated rules.

Singer, 33, has been a devoted player of the fantasy role-playing game since he was a child, according to the court ruling. After the ban went into effect, prison officials confiscated dozens of Dungeons & Dragons books and magazines in his cell, as well as a 96-page manuscript he had written detailing a potential scenario for the game that players could act out.

A friend's reply:

Just because the game encourages people to form groups to break into places, kill the inhabitants, and take their stuff is no reason to equate it with gang behavior.
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It's sad, but at the same time...Don't get sent to prison!

Easier said than done. A substantial number of the people behind bars don't deserve to be there.

I was going to saying more along the lines of: don't kill anyone in the first place.

You say that as if you actually have to be guilty to find yourself in prison.

Is it lonely up there on your high horses?

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And even for the guilty, prison is a very, very hard place. We don't rehabilitate, we punish and for that it is remarkabally and brutally effective. I'll try and keep my political leanings out but say I am sad to see one more thing added to the list of freedoms stripped away in prison, especially something so very harmless.

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And yeah, I think forbidding a prisoner to play RPGs is ridiculous. The purpose of keeping someone locked up for life is to make sure none of us have to worry about running into them in a dark alley or them showing up on our doorstep. I don't see how finding every petty way we can to demean them or to make them uncomfortable while they're in there serves that purpose.

Then again, they also claim they're trying to "rehabilitate" convicts, yet good luck finding the needle in the haystack who didn't come out worse than he went in. Assuming he even deserved to be there in the first place, which is debatable with depressing frequency.

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I agree with the general sentiment Shaen, too many people get locked up without commitng any crime but not being able to afford a better lawyer.

I will note however that this guy is one of the less sympathetic prisoners you'll find, Guy beat his sisters boyfriend to death with a sledgehammer.

Of far more concern I think is the principle that its not because they want to deny him a comfort that the game is banned but because it is termed to "promotes fantasy role playing, competitive hostility, violence, addictive escape behaviors, and possible gambling,"

Though the ban was upheld in court due in part to "After all, punishment is a fundamental aspect of imprisonment, and prisons may choose to punish inmates by preventing them from participating in some of their favorite recreations,"

Fact is though that prison as we have it just plain doesn't work, as a deterrent, as rehabilitation, or even for many as punishment. Frankly I can't support any system of dehumanizing a population even if I don't like the people in question they are people.

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High horse? Unlikely. I just have a penchant for making what I believe to be innocuous statements without thinking about them >_>

Don't feel too bad. "Prisoners Rights" is one of those issues most people just don't think about, or tend to think in very black-&-white terms about, until they have a personal stake in it. Then the black-&-white tends to fade into many shades of grey with alarming alacrity. But by that point, it's usually too late, because they've already been effectively silenced.

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  • 1 year later...

Dungeons and Dragons Threatens Prison Security, Court Rules

If you're an orc or a wizard, you'd better keep your nose clean.

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit weighed in Wednesday on a matter of grievous import to the nation's prisons: Dungeons & Dragons. And the Court's ruling was bad news for naughty nerds nationwide, concluding that the innocent-seeming board game was inviting trouble.

The case brought before the Appeals Court argued that D&D inhibited prison security, because "cooperative games can mimic the organization of gangs and lead to the actual development thereof." And therefore Kevin T. Singer, a long-time dungeon-explorer sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for bludgeoning and stabbing his sister’s boyfriend, was denied access to his magical staffs and pieces of gold.

According to the published ruling, Captain Bruce Muraski, who serves as disruptive group coordinator for the Waupun Correctional Institute in Wisconsin, elaborated that "during D&D games, one player is denoted the 'Dungeon Master.' The Dungeon Master is tasked with giving directions to other players, which Muraski testified mimics the organization of a gang."

In other words, the case didn't hang on whether the dice were loaded or the game's books were cooked or seditious. It argued that limiting the use of board games would deter gang activity. The argument had more nuances than a 12-sided die; for all the legal details, check the Geeks Are Sexy blog.

It's a blow to role-players everywhere -- criminal role-players that is. Law-abiding citizens are safe. So heed this warning and rob no more, or you'll find you've slain your last halfling.

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