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.
*Odd as that may look to write out.