D&D in jail.

Via Facebook, this is a simultaneously sad and hopeful article on how convicts play D&D while incarcerated:

It may sound like a strange juxtaposition: hardened, tattooed offenders donning the cloaks of fantasy characters. Yet both former inmates and correctional officers agree: D&D is more common in prison than you might imagine. Most facilities have at least one game going. Some have a player in every cell block. According to Micah Davis, a former inmate and Dungeon Master imprisoned in Texas, “We had our own table in the dayroom. That’s saying something. Aryan brotherhood table, Mexican mafia table, black guy table, and D&D table.”

Some of the players are lifelong gamers, who would be doing the same thing if they were on the outside. Others hadn’t even heard of D&D until getting locked up. But faced with a dearth of creative outlets, donning a metaphorical robe and wizard hat quickly became a welcome diversion.

Sad in that — and mind you, often for perfectly valid reasons; and also mind that these people are duly convicted criminals — there are a lot of restrictions put in place on people who want to game behind bars.  Hopeful in that those restrictions have sparked a lot of ingenuity on the part of the convicts. And, frankly, even if you don’t like RPGs* you will hopefully concede that at least that ingenuity is being applied to benign ends.

Moe Lane

*Odd as that may look to write out.

5 thoughts on “D&D in jail.”

  1. Back in the late 1970s/early 1980s, SPI’s Moves magazine had an ongoing series of game reviews done by inmates at the Virginia State Penitentiary. Arguably, D&D would be better for the inmates than Napoleon At War or (God help us) Dixie.

  2. While deployed in Okinawa, there really wasn’t a whole lot to do.
    The base library was slightly larger than my living room, and not very well stocked.
    There was a good weight room, and a beautiful lagoon to swim in, but the novelty wears off quickly, and pushing yourself very hard made PT suck rather epically for the next couple of days.
    The military was starting to crack down on drinking in a major way (which since has gotten much more draconian). But even so, running sucks and hangovers suck, but together they’re misery squared.
    Leaving base was highly restricted and needed to be done in groups, most of whom were much more interested in supporting the prostitution industry than doing anything interesting.
    We were very limited in what we could bring, but if you couldn’t fit some dice and a rulebook in your seabag, you weren’t trying very hard.
    I ran GURPs four nights a week, and played D&D the other three. (And lots and lots of Spades. Not to mention a fair bit of Gin Rummy. I regret to say that none of us knew how to play Cribbage.)
    There’s a lot to be said for something that can provide you hundreds of hours of enjoyment from a couple of books, some dice, a pencil, and some paper.

  3. Maybe we should send them copies of D&D’s sister game P&P (Payrolls & Paychecks) about roleplaying in modern societies.👹

  4. I have this friend who’s in jail and .. yup, he’s running a game. I’ve included campaign ideas in a few letters…
    Since skype into jail is .. not possible .. it’s one area where I really wish D&D were a little more .. snail-mail-friendly.
    One important detail .. the *specific version* of some of the books *matters* .. the authorities can *and will* confiscate books where the art is sufficiently “sexy” that it qualifies as “pornographic”.

Comments are closed.