Dungeons & Dragons Banned in Prison

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Dungeons & Dragons Banned in Prison

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A Chicago Court upheld the legality of a decision to ban Dungeons & Dragons from being played in a Wisconsin prison because it would "foster hostility."

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision yesterday, upholding the decision to ban D&D at the Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin. The lawsuit was brought by Kevin T. Singer, serving a life term for killing his sister's boyfriend, and claimed that taking away his D&D books was a violation of his First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights. Singer has been playing D&D since he was a child and even wrote a 96 page manuscript of his own house rules, which was also confiscated. The game was banned at the behest of the prison's specialist in gangs, Captain Muraski.

Prison officials testified in court that D&D could "foster an inmate's obsession with escaping from the real-life correctional environment, fostering hostility, violence and escape behavior."

While it may be within the rights for a prison to restrict what its inmates are doing in their spare time, the reasons cited for the ban make absolutely no sense. To prove that point, here is an excerpt from the court's decision regarding Muraski's testimony:

He explained that the policy [of banning D&D] was intended to promote prison security because cooperative games can mimic the organization of gangs and lead to the actual development thereof. Muraski 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.

This argument is pure fantasy (SWIDT?). Anyone who thinks the DM is akin to a gang leader or even a Mafia don has no understanding of the game at all. It just doesn't work that way.

In my mind this is no different than the irrational attack on D&D from religious goons like Jack Chick or my own mother.

The only good that has come of this is the large amount of lawyers coming out of the woodwork on blogs like The Volokh Conspiracy and showing off their 20-sided dice by arguing against this ban. I'm proud of you, my dork brothers!

Source: NYTimes and The Volokh Conspiracy

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I thought they would've banned it because you could sharpen the figurines' weapons into weapons...

They're lethal if you stab people in the right place!

Those dice are lethal! Especially if you roll a 20!

HAH!, this will make a tons of D&D players happy, they are technically in a gang according to Muraski.

"they see me rollin' they hatin'"

edit: i have stumbled upon the dark dungeon comic several times and i always thought it was a joke.

I just read that CHICK publications comic.

If it wasn't for the rest of the site I genuinely would have thought that was a parody, not a very subtle one at that. Amazing.

I though D&D would be a good thing if its stops them from playing the soap game and shanking each other.

Sorry to say, but I think I can see where Chicago are coming from on this.

Okay so some of the reasons are poor and misinformed, but there are presumably other reasons which aren't.

My personal view is that prisoners should not be allowed to have fun, but apparently that's "fascist".

Oh I see, they saw game dogs and thought that the games came with swords. I get it now.

Looks like the ones in favour of keeping DnD rolled a critical miss on their Diplomacy checks :(

Game Dogs was right!

Regardless, what? It's a board game for crying out loud, it's not going to lead to a prisoner escaping XO

swaki:
HAH!, this will make a tons of D&D players happy, they are technically in a gang according to Muraski.

"they see me rollin' they hatin'"

edit: i have stumbled upon the dark dungeon comic several times and i always thought it was a joke.

"D&D is hardCO' Gangsta'"

Exactly my thoughts on it. I was even trying to find a good "They see me rollin'" demotivater to post.

While I think that line of reasoning makes no sense. The guy is a convicted murderer, and quite frankly, he doesn't deserve D&D.

I feel no sympathy towards the prisoners, I'm only annoyed at what they say about the hobby.

Dungeon master Drunk Guss must have gotten shanked by Billy Bob the Wife Beater after his elf paladin got slain.

Hmm...somehow D&D and gangster just don't seem to go together...wonder why...

Ther must be some thing in the fancy expensive water that all these anti-gaming people are drinking. It makes me feel sad that a man in prison can't enjoy a good session because the gaurds think he is trying to set up hits..

Spinwhiz:
Those dice are lethal! Especially if you roll a 20!

Yeah, I did that with my Ninja feat once. I don't think there were any survivors.

Unfortunately a lot of legislation comes out of lack of research into the culture. This is a particularly shitty one because it just shows how little attention can be paid. If they'd said something like "Oh, they're using the figurines to map out gang wars and drug movement outside of The Joint! Here is our evidence." then maybe. I'm not sure what percentage of people in the prison mentioned are related to gangs but I really doubt it's all of them, and unlikely to be all of those who play the game.

Score one for stupidity.

If DnD is banend cause the DM is sortof like a mafia don, then former prisoners shouldn't look for jobs when they get out, cause at work you, your co-workers and your boss are more resemblant of a gang with a don.

Nice to see that the politicians are smart enough to make sure prisoners have less non-violent activities to attend to. guess they can go back to killing each other and raping the new inamtes.

But then again, why should i cry for the lack of right for convicted criminals. they're scum anyways.

Just too bad for the guards who'll get jumped by prisnoers, cause they have nothing else to do.

thenumberthirteen:
While I think that line of reasoning makes no sense. The guy is a convicted murderer, and quite frankly, he doesn't deserve D&D.

I'm inclined to think the same thing. However, the article says he was imprisoned for killing his sister's boyfriend. I think I should look into that case without making further judgement because, for example, said boyfriend could've been beating his sister or something.

OMG! Chick Tracts was right! D&D is evil!

Seriously though, really bad logic on Muraski's part.

I thought they would have banned it because it regularly bored its players to death, and thus rendered death row redundant.

Anyway, Its not surprising. A building full of big, angry men with way too much time on their hands the last thing you want to do is encourage competition.
That's what basket ball is for. And cell mates.

Sounds like it could be a good skit. Hardened criminals roleplaying D&D characters. hahahahaha

Right, so D&D is banned, and yet religion, for which some people some people kill themselves is still allowed, what great logic you morons.

thenoblegaunt:
OMG! Chick Tracts was right! D&D is evil!

Seriously though, really bad logic on Muraski's part.

And Catholicism is the work of the devil. I love Chick Tracts simply cause they're so hilariously bad.

The D&D ban seems a little excessive, I mean sure if the inmates are becoming hugely violent because of it banning it is fine. But since they're only banning it because the game may make them violent is pretty stupid. Saying that I've played with a DM that I wanted to punch so......

Oh no! Can't have the prisoners casting magic missile at each other!

manaman:
Oh no! Can't have the prisoners casting magic missile at each other!

Think of the mess! It would take days to clean up!

PhunkyPhazon:
Game Dogs was right!

Regardless, what? It's a board game for crying out loud, it's not going to lead to a prisoner escaping XO

In fact it will probably reduce attempted escapes since they would have to miss out on the rest of the quest if they escaped

Charlie the Grenadier:

thenumberthirteen:
While I think that line of reasoning makes no sense. The guy is a convicted murderer, and quite frankly, he doesn't deserve D&D.

I'm inclined to think the same thing. However, the article says he was imprisoned for killing his sister's boyfriend. I think I should look into that case without making further judgement because, for example, said boyfriend could've been beating his sister or something.

You may have a point, but still life imprisonment.... Hmmmmm.... I think it's safe to make at least some assumptions. To cover my ass I shall state that brutal murderers should not be allowed any form of Table top gaming. Not even Necromunda.

So the "dungeon master" the person in charge of telling the story and plot points in a D&D game is now a criminal mastermind hell bent on taking over the world?

As M.Bison played by Raul Julia would say "OF COURSE!!!"

It's escapism.. I understand that mindset of not wanting to be here.. So lets play this game where we get to pretend we are not.

In normal everyday life.. Sure you can play and do whatever.> Heck go take drugs and escape that way if you must (just don't get caught).

But if you're somewhere as punishment for something really bad you've done. I have no problems agreeing with you having fun things taken away.

As for the gangs thing.. EH. I can sort of begin to see how putting a group of like-minded people together in an area and letting them foster good friendships, then talking about make believe and then giving them some freedom might be a bad idea - in a jail environment, you know, with murderers and people who are likely to try to plan to hurt other people..

Any kind of game will invoke hostility. Hell, even Rock, Paper scissors will get their panties in a twist.

Greg Tito:

Prison officials testified in court that D&D could "foster an inmate's obsession with escaping from the real-life correctional environment, fostering hostility, violence and escape behavior."

Unlike, say, BEING LOCKED UP IN PRISON WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO PLAY GAMES?

There are no words. There is only /facepalm.

Spinwhiz:
Sounds like it could be a good skit. Hardened criminals roleplaying D&D characters. hahahahaha

Wouldn't you LOVE to play in a game with those guys though? As long as you weren't DM of course. Sort of tough to say "Make a saving throw" when they've got a shiv to your kidneys.

guess they have to play shadowrun now..or cthulhu perhaps :D

Spinwhiz:
Those dice are lethal! Especially if you roll a 20!

I use my escape out of prison feat.

Personally I'd be keen on going to prison if I could play D&D, I've missed that generation and I've always wanted to try. (despite that nagging insecure feeling of nerdiness)

That's a little OTT, tbh. To ban the game in prison for any reason other than "parts of it could be used to inflict physical harm on others" is absurd. "Promotes the formation of gangs"? Please. They'll take out Monopoly next, because it promotes money laundering or something...

However, that "Dark Dungeons" comic is absolutely hilarious. I love crazy religious types, they're incredibly amusing.

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