I want to go to jail!

PS3’s prison ban

Sony’s PlayStation 3 has been banned from prisons because it can “send and receive radio signals”, the Home Secretary John Reid has said. The machine, which has wi-fi capabilities, was released in shops last week, priced at £425. Mr Reid was replying in a written answer to Shadow Home Secretary David Davis.” (link)

Now, I am not a game-console person (the last one I had was the Sega and Gameboy) and I profess my lack of knowledge about them. But I hope I’m not wrong in thinking that there are other reasons beside “it can send and receive radio signals” for PS3 to be banned from prisons!

I am aware of their entertainment potential, (observed from cousins and friends), but have yet to see any crime-reduction capabilities. If anything, there has always been debates on the link between violent video games and TV shows with actual violent behaviour. Does the prison warden/government then provide a list of “acceptable” games? Cue in the image of a group of convicts playing Super Mario Brothers.

It is not clear from the news bit above whether the UK government is actually providing the PS3 (and assuming other video game consoles prior to this) or if they are gifts from the prisoners’ friends and families. I do hope that it’s these friends and family who are footing the bill (£425 for a PS3) and not the tax-payers.

I have always thought prisons were meant to keep prisoners from doing criminal acts and also to think about what they have done and hopefully learn from it. It’s not unlike kids being sent to their room or told to stay in a corner as a form or punishment. I do think however that the parents will take away any form of entertainment (e.g. TV, radio, phones) during this confinement in the hope that the child/prisoner will self-reflect and learn from their mistakes.

My image of prison life has been of confinement, small tiny cell and back-breaking work under the hot sun. Now I wonder if this is all just a Hollywood imagination, perhaps to help the government to cover up what really goes on in prison life! Now maybe I see this: free food and nap time, running around and playing catch or tag during recess, playing video game consoles…no work and all play! Sounds like kindergarden to me!

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