D&D Banned In Prison

Apparently, playing Dungeons & Dragons promotes gang violence in prisons. Namely, the Dungeon Master enforces rules and regulations… just like prison gang leaders! Even more heinous of a crime, some prisoner-players in Wisconsin stand accused of “promoting a D&D gang” and “touting the ‘rush’ they got from playing the game,” which sounds more like a desperate attempt to interest people in their LARP group than it does an attempt to overthrow the Aryan Brotherhood or whatever.

Therefore, some prison in Wisconsin is banning the game… rather, confiscating the prisoners’ books and magazines so that these dangerous felons cannot continue their subversive attempts at a D&D gang. This goes on the same list of “weird roleplaying paranoia” as the IDF prohibiting military clearance from gamers. (It’s nice to know the hobby’s still in the news as “counterculture,” I guess.)

The whole thing is pretty inane, and as most posters are quick to point out, sounds more like a paranoid stompfest than peremptorily removing a dangerous prison threat. Seriously, these guys fucked up enough somehow to be locked away from society, I can’t blame them for wanting to escape into a fantasy world. If they really wanted to come up with tactical strategies for prison-gang warfare, they’d be more capable doing so with Stratego and checkers—which the prison still allows, mind you—compared to planning their attacks of opportunity or healing surges for the next prison throw-down.

Given the dorky, stereotyped history of the game, and the scary, man-raping history of prisons, it’s odd to see the prison board freak out about a hobby usually associated with old guys with neckbeards and young kids with glasses and acne medicine. (Not that it’s great to associate the game with hardened convicts, but don’t forget, lots of military servicepeople play the game. Just not in Israel.) It’s laughable to assume these guys would be standing around the prison yard looking for a ranger to fill out their “party” so they can assault The Barony of Cellblock 31.

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