Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Role for Justice!

Apparently, officials at the Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin decided that the avid gaming taking place amongst some of the prisoners could only be a sign that trouble was brewing, and confiscated the prisoner's D&D material out of fear that it would inspire the participants to commit real acts of naughtiness that involve shivs rather than dice:

[Gang Specialist Muraski] explained that the policy 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. At bottom, his testimony about this policy aim highlighted Waupun’s worries about cooperative activity among inmates, particularly that carried out in an organized, hierarchical fashion.

Believe it not, we've actually covered the subject of gaming in prison on this blog before, which I suppose makes us more of an expert on the subject than this gang specialist, who apparently believes that D&D inspires people to organize themselves in the manner reminiscent of a gang. You know, if gangs were hanging out in their cribs eating Doritos, drinking Mountain Dew and rolling to awkwardly seduce tavern wenches played by other male gamers. The only possible question that can arise from this is: has Muranski ever actually met any gamers? To be fair, the prisoners participating in this activity are hardened, violent criminals, but unless they're being housed in an institution reminiscent of a petty European baron's medieval dungeon, there is almost no activity in life that D&D can possibly be helping to prepare them for. But let's take a moment to focus on what's really important here:

While Cardwell and his other affiants, including a literacy tutor and a role-playing game analyst, testified to a positive relationship between D&D and rehabilitation, none disputed or even acknowledged the prison officials’ assertions that there are valid reasons to fear a relationship running in the opposite direction.

That has got to be the sweetest analytical job in the world, and I'm polishing my resume as this is being typed.