Dungeons and Dragons in the News

There’s been some dispute lately regarding a recent court case, Singer versus Raemisch, where an inmate in Wisconsin was banned from playing Dungeons and Dragons.   I have to say, first of all, that I’m not a lawyer, but second, that uttering the phrase “I’m not a lawyer” requires me to offer my own silly wrong-headed opinion anyway.

The main issue for the prosecution in this case was, to my mind, that the prison’s expert on gang activity gave testimony that D&D could lead to gang activity.  That testimony doesn’t seem to have been very convincing in and of itself – “it has a leader who judges rules and stipulates behavior,” which seems to have been the only justification given, does not a gang make.   Nonetheless, none of the defense’s affidavits could directly contradict that testimony, so they ruled in favor of the prison. Thus, a logical route for future cases would be to gather information from prison officials who allow D&D as to why it does not necessarily lead to gang-related actions.

That being said, the stipulation that the prisoner’s D&D material, including his own campaign notes, be confiscated does seem above and beyond what was required, so I hope he finds some relief for this.

Overall, I think this is indicative of the restrictions that prison life in the United States places on inmates, which often gives great latitude to local administrators to set rules.  Whether that justifies it or not is another matter.

Published in: on January 30, 2011 at 2:18 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I just keep imagining these guys forming a party composed entirely of chaotic evil thieves and assassins, and then, when things fall apart, start wondering how money hit points damage a shiv does.

  2. On the side I sent an email to you and your co-author of the Necronomicon Files, but it bounced. The email had a bit more context and I would love to re-send it.

    On your book’s errata, according to someone I regard as an academic authority in German Schlangekraft can indeed be translated very faithfully as “serpent power.” Kraft can have other connotations but the specific usage of ‘Schlangekraft’ as serpent power is a faithful translation.

    The person who verified this for me is a professor of German literature, and the person’s father is one of the most noted authorities in German Studies in our country.

    In the interest of accuracy,

  3. I remember in my younger years when a band of D&Ders moved in next door to us. They would break into our house and steal our doritos and mountain dew for their dark rites.

    Jack Chick tried to warn us. First D&D leads to gang activity, then it’s a just a slippery slope down the path of satanism… 🙂

    Here’s my expert opinion: “PRISON leads to gang activity.” There you go, lets start a campaign (no pun intended) to eradicate that. (Masters in CJ, 8 years as assistant warden and 2 years as warden of a high security prison in middle of nowhere Texas. In case you’re wondering what makes me an expert).

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