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High security prisoner believes gaming fuels his determination to reform

High security prisoner believes gaming fuels his determination to reform

I’m not going to detail who he is or what he did or what he does or does not deserve here – that’s not really what this blog is about. It’s just an interesting contrast to the sensationalist news stories about how games are turning the youth of the world into a gang of violent, degenerate criminals that we’re all familiar with.

Here’s a guy that took a very, very wrong path at a young age for reasons I won’t speculate on, but I think it’s safe to assume Burnin’ Rubber on the Amstrad GX4000 (his first videogame) was not to blame. Now he’s in jail, he’s using games as a motivation for studying and working hard so that he can go straight after his release.

Inmates are given the opportunity to earn a minimal wage by studying and working, and can spend their wages on old games consoles and a limited selection of non-violent games. Apparently, subscriptions to games magazines are permitted too. Our incarcerated subscriber has only recently been allowed to upgrade from a PSone to an original model PS2, but says he loves reading about PS3 games in PLAY,

“I can experience all the new and forthcoming releases on the PS3, in full HD and 5.1 surround sound by what I call the ‘3rd person descriptive’. Amazing! Sounds desperate I know.”

It does a little, and we’re also surprised he wants to put himself through the torment of knowing what he’s missing. But actually he assures us that playing PS2 games and reading about PS3 games gives him motivation – he seems to think it does him good to be reminded of what gaming delights will be on offer once he’s free to live a non-criminal life. He’s also been inspired to focus his studies on IT and computer networks and is determined to find a job in computing on his release.

Obviously I can’t say that gaming has been proven to aid prisoner reform based on this guy’s case, but it certainly sounds like it’s helping him get on the right track and I sincerely hope this will be his last stretch behind bars.

By the way, the letter will be printed in issue 199 of PLAY, on sale 25 November.




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