PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

RPGs: a clear and present danger?

And no, we don’t mean rocket propelled grenades, we mean role-playing games. In a decision last year, the seventh circuit of the United States Court of Appeals ruled that a Wisconsin prison is free to ban the roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons because it threatens prison security. In making their ruling, the judges cited an affidavit from Captain Bruce Muraski (who spent nearly twenty years as Waupun prison’s Disruptive Group Coordinator):

…fantasy role-playing games like D&D have “been found to promote competitive hostility, violence, and addictive escape behavior, which can compromise not only the inmate’s rehabilitation and effects of positive program- ming, but endanger the public and jeopardize the safety and security of the institution.”

Moreover,

…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.

Indeed, we hardly want to contribute to the scourge of elven gang violence. You’ll find more on the case via Fox News and the Geeks are Sexy blog.

 

4 responses to “RPGs: a clear and present danger?

  1. Brian 27/01/2011 at 8:23 pm

    My goodness… we wouldn’t want prisoners entertaining escapist thoughts, would we! And I find it hard to believe that it would take actual incarceration, and _then_ exposure to role-playing games, for someone to figure out that a group of people with a leader is a gang….
    Reminds me of an old notice in a back issue of Strategy and Tactics magazine, where they noted they had received a request for a number of their games from a prisoner, notably for a copy of Breakout and Pursuit….

  2. Sam 27/01/2011 at 8:48 pm

    Sigh. Anyone who’s played D&D knows the DM is not a gang leader, but the primary antagonist. The Wisconsin corrective system should consult with more nerds.

  3. Rex Brynen 27/01/2011 at 8:58 pm

    Frankly, my RPG group has decided to embrace this and get gang colours ;)

  4. Starbuck 28/01/2011 at 10:54 am

    “…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.”

    We can substitute sports terms for “D&D” and it would be equally valid.

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