In an attempt to curb violence in prisons, inmates are being offered the chance to pick up the joypad and play computer games.
Oregon state prison in the US is among the first to trial this new system which rewards hard working inmates with the opportunity to buy various gadgetry such as small televisions, music and now handheld gaming devices that play 50 simplistic games. The aim of the policy is to try to encourage good behaviour whilst also providing some form of distraction for the inmates; getting them to bash buttons rather than each other.
From November to January the small console, which costs the inmates $35, has sold 809 units. Considering that the games it can play are reminiscent of 70’s and 80’s classics like Pacman and Space Invaders, the console has been considered a huge success.
Kodi Dodgin, a 23-year old inmate, had this to say about the system:
"You get all these weapons and you've got to beat the four boss men, you kill your enemies. They let off these bubbles sometimes. You collect their bubbles, and you get all these weapons."
However, when offering games to prisoners precautions are needed. In 2004 jail officials had to pull PS2 consoles from the inmate’s recreation rooms
as the games they could play contained levels where you could kill police officers. This time round the games are closer to Tetris than Grand Theft Auto.
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