Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Prisoner wants his D&D stuff back...

UPDATE: More at boingboing. UPDATE 2: The Volokh Conspiracy and Sullivan have now posted on this. (But you read it here at Internal Monologue first!) Story seems to have touched a nerve. I think everyone can empathize with a guy in prison for life who has had one of his few sources of richness and pleasure taken away. Punishing people who are already helpless just seems awful, no matter no matter how much they deserve it. Question: does putting people in prison really reduce crime, or does it just push crime into a hole where most of us don't have to deal with it?

...and I say give it to him! Yes, he was convicted of 1st degree murder, but when you take his D&D stuff away, I'm on his side:
MADISON, Wis. - A man serving life in prison for first-degree intentional homicide has lost his legal battle to play Dungeons and Dragons behind bars.

Kevin T. Singer filed a lawsuit against officials at Wisconsin's Waupun prison after a policy was initiated in 2004 to eradicate all Dungeons and Dragons game materials among concerns that playing it promotes gang-related activity.

The 33-year-old Singer is a devoted player of the fantasy role-playing game that involves recruiting others to play as a group. He argued that his First Amendment rights were being violated and demanded that Dungeons and Dragons material confiscated from his cell be returned.

But the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the prison's policy was reasonable.
I guess he'll have to switch to some system that doesn't require so much paraphernalia. Here is the comment I left on the story:
As a fellow gamer, I protest this decision and request that the prison discontinue this policy. Dungeons & Dragons is not related to any gang activity outside of prison. If gang activity is a problem at Wapun[oops, spelling] prison, I urge the officials there to find other ways of dealing with it, instead of picking on an often wrongly stigmatized hobby. It's sadly ironic that this is taking place in Wisconsin, the state that gave birth to Dungeons & Dragons almost 40 years ago. Although I think it is just that Singer is in prison for his crime, I don't see why he can't enjoy Dungeons & Dragons while serving. It harms no one and probably provides a healthy and constructive diversion from the routines of prison life.
I would add that I'm going to be extra careful not to commit any crimes while in Wisconsin, lest I end up in Waupun prison and have all my D&D stuff confiscated.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone else feel the sudden urge to send this guy letters with the D&D core rules in them?

This is just wrong.
If any activity promoting cooperation is a risk, I think we need to look at what other things prisoners are being allowed to do. After all, prisoners should be denied all human interraction, right?

What other books are we going to ban now?

12:15 AM, January 27, 2010  

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