Apparently the Wisconsin prison system has enacted a regulation preventing inmates from playing Dungeons and Dragons. According to the Oakland Tribune:
Prison officials instigated the Dungeons & Dragons ban among concerns that playing the game promoted gang-related activity and was a threat to security.
Uh, I thought we dispensed with this sort of goofy thinking back in the mid-80s. If the biggest gang threat in your prison is guys sitting around a table arguing about the blast radius of a fireball (c’mon, don’t you pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about) then you really should just sit back and count your lucky stars.
Dungeons & Dragons “promotes fantasy role playing, competitive hostility, violence, addictive escape behaviors, and possible gambling,” according to the ruling.
Yes, we need less of this sort of behavior, let’s get inmates involved in more wholesome activity like metal working (best shanks in town!), learning how to bribe prison guards for cell phones, drugs and other contraband, and real hostility.
It seems to me that since we’ve essentially decided to forgo rehabilitation in favor of warehousing prisoners we could do worse than allow prisoners to self-organize to participate in activities which promote cooperative behavior, following rules, suppressing impulsive behavior, etc. (all of which D&D does if you know anything about it).