Court Says Playing Dungeons & Dragons In Prisons Represents Gang Behavior
from the bloods,-crips-and-paladins dept
Basically, a guy who is serving a life sentence for murder, Kevin Singer, was apparently an avid D&D player as well, and had a collection of D&D books and related paraphernalia. However, it was confiscated by the prison after another prisoner complained that Singer was building a "gang" around D&D.
...Waupun's long-serving Disruptive Group Coordinator, Captain Bruce Muraski, received an anonymous letter from an inmate. The letter expressed concern that Singer and three other inmates were forming a D&D gang and were trying to recruit others to join by passing around their D&D publications and touting the "rush" they got from playing the game. Muraski, Waupun's expert on gang activity, decided to heed the letter"s advice and "check into this gang before it gets out of hand."Singer and the other prisoners named in the letter filed a complaint about the confiscation, and then a lawsuit. Singer got numerous experts to explain that D&D is not related to gang activity. The court claims that some of those experts actually claimed otherwise, but the interpretation here is fuzzy. The court says that these experts disagreed with Singer's assertions because they claimed that D&D could keep people away from gang activity, and thus it's "connected" to gang activity. I can't see how this makes any sense at all. By that reasoning anything that someone does that keeps them away from joining a gang is automatically considered, itself, a gang activity. How does that make sense?
The explanation as to why D&D serves to create gang activity seems absolutely ridiculous:
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. Muraski's second asserted governmental interest in the D&D ban was inmate rehabilitation. He testified that D&D can "foster an inmate's obsession with escaping from the real life, correctional environment, fostering hostility, violence and escape behavior," which in turn "can compromise not only the inmate's rehabilitation and effects of positive programming but also endanger the public and jeopardize the safety and security of the institution."Read that a couple times. The argument is basically that (1) any activity that involves a hierarchy mimics gang activity and thus can be barred and (2) anything that lets inmates have an imagination might hurt their chances at rehabilitation. The court seems to suggest that part of the problem is that Singer failed to directly answer specific questions or make the specific points he needed to in order to prevail -- which is entirely possible. However, it still seems like a silly result all around.