Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No D&D in Prison

It's always amazing to see what kind of nonsensical lawsuits actually make it through our court system.  A convicted murderer in Wisconsin filed a legal action claiming that a prison ban on playing Dungeons & Dragons violated his constitutional rights.

The suit was brought by a prisoner, Kevin T. Singer, who argued that his First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights were violated by the prison’s decision to ban the game and confiscate his books and other materials, including a 96-page handwritten manuscript he had created for the game.
Rather than just being laughed out of court, the lawsuit made its way to a "a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit." Fortunately, they declined to find a constitutional right to play D&D in prison. With the incredibly loose definition of rights pushed by some these days, a contrary opinion probably wouldn't have been that surprising.

Also noteworthy is the idiotic reasoning used by the prison to ban the game in the first place.

Dungeons & Dragons could “foster an inmate’s obsession with escaping from the real-life correctional environment, fostering hostility, violence and escape behavior,” prison officials said in court. That could make it more difficult to rehabilitate prisoners and could endanger public safety, they said.
They actually claimed D&D could lead to "gang behavior." Seriously. The three judge panel basically ruled that even though the prison officials are a pack of morons, they have the ability to regulate what goes on in the jail.
there was no evidence of marauding gangs spurred to their acts of destruction by swinging imaginary mauls, but it ruled nonetheless that the prison’s decision was “rationally related” to legitimate goals of prison administration.
I wonder how much money it cost to figure that out? 

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