Inmates in Nevada file lawsuit to recoup funds spent on banned game consoles
Eighteen inmates in Nevada filed a lawsuit last week to recoup the cost of PlayStation II gaming systems they bought with funds from their inmate trust accounts. The option to purchase the game systems was introduced to the Nevada State Prison system under a pilot program launched in 2009, which was discontinued this year due to reports of widespread contraband usage in association with the PSIIs. The inmates are suing to recover the money they spent on the game systems.
The local television news coverage of the story appears below.
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As you can see from the video, there a variety of reactions to this story. Some are of the opinion that the PSII pilot program was misguided from the start, and that prisoners shouldn’t have access to entertainment options that some segments of the general population can’t afford. Others contend that the fact that someone is incarcerated shouldn’t condemn them to a technology-free existence. Still others believe that since it was the agency that both initiated and discontinued the PSII program, the inmates should be returned the funds they used to participate in that program.
At JPay, we believe that gaming is a burgeoning aspect of behavior modification initiatives in correctional facilities, and can play a positive role in reducing prisoner movement, filling idle time, and meeting the needs of inmate populations. We also believe, however, that introducing systems designed for the non-incarcerated consumer only invites the kind of difficulties encountered by the Nevada DOC.
Instead, facilities and agencies should invest in media systems designed specifically for the corrections environment. Our JP3 player, used primarily by inmates to download and listen to approved music, also has basic gaming functions. But the games are simple and nonviolent (while still engaging), and the JP3 device itself is designed to resist tampering, modification, and remain completely secure. In other words, it’s built for prisons and prisoners.
Technology – even media platforms that provide access to music and gaming – can have a profoundly positive influence on the reentry and rehabilitation prospects of individual offenders, and also on the overall condition of an inmate population. If that technology gives rise to an influx in contraband, however, it becomes counterproductive. Agencies should explore corrections-approved, corrections-designed products for this purpose, and in doing so avoid the legal consequences that have accompanied this particular failed pilot program.
The full story can be seen here.