June 28th, 2006

Should Prisoners Be Allowed to Play Games? ...Read & Vote

Video games in jail - it's a question that comes up with increasing frequency.

Opinions on the issue seem to fall into two camps. Some tough-talking politicians and administrators say games are a luxury that don't belong in jails. Others hold that games relax inmates, making jails safer, and help to pass the time.

In the anti-game camp, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt (R) banned all games in his state's correctional facilities last year. At the time, Gov. Blunt said, "Video games are a luxury that inmates should not be allowed to enjoy... Our penitentiaries are punitive institutions where those who have committed crimes against society are sent to pay for their actions. They are not meant to be arcades."

The games-in-prison issue has surfaced again, this time in Florida at the privately-run Hernando County Jail. In April officials at the facility introduced two PlayStation 2 systems along with seven games for use by inmates. The video game systems were in part a reaction by administrators to suicides and other issues which plagued the facility in recent months.
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