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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.

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11 Comments

  1. Cindie Griffith

    October 10, 2011 - 10:42 pm

    What kind of prison is that? Even the trusty camps in TDCJ don’t have such freedom. Yeah I know I was there and do not want to go back. Give the families back the games or the money they spent for them even the ones who were watching porn. Prison is not about comfort shoot in Texas the stuff you can buy from the store sux cheap crap that is over priced I can see the pricing just get better products but really it is one of those things I keep in mind and do not want to have to deal with again.

  2. Cousin of an Inmate in TX

    September 19, 2011 - 1:18 pm

    What? The inmates just want their money back, right? So, what was all the conversation about concerning the PlayStations 2? They don’t have them anymore.

  3. Tyler John

    September 7, 2011 - 8:25 pm

    the ppl they interviewed for that have never seen the inside of a prison have you ever heard idle hands are the devils playground. video games keep the inmate population occupied that means less institutional violence and illegal activity also the pornography and dvds didn’t just magically appear so maybe the state should look into that and the citizens should see who their tax dollars are paying to watch the inmates.

  4. mike brown

    September 5, 2011 - 9:59 pm

    i so agree with every one here seems like we need more including the state of nv to listen an open their minds and think alil because as said u give some one something else to think about other than the hardships of the day their jobs ( the correctional officers ) day would would be so much easier im speaking form experience here honestly giving something costructive to do other than push ups and working out is better then contemplating ur next violent act or act of misc crime just saying as stated by judy

  5. mike brown

    September 5, 2011 - 9:44 pm

    funny how they say they where accessing porn on them well heres the thing u cant veiw them things on the ps2 …lol and if they were so smart they wouldnt allow them the ps2 olderversion they would prvide hte slim which doesnt have inet capability funny stuff and then u have the lady dat says ” it doesnt seem like a punishment” making the point that why can they have something we cant afford for our children kuz we have to pay taxes. ok fine but then dont give them food either kause some cant afford that, 2 they can afford it and so would every one else and they do have to pay some tax but different then u and me they get payed wat 18 cent and hour or 2 dollars an hour some rediculous wage but thats the cost they pay for being incarcerated no reason they should be left behind and made to thinkof the mistake or wrong choices they made in life ever day every minute and then to get out and cant even understand how to play a video game with their child grandchild nephew or neice every one needs down tiem and escape form lifes hardsships some time how u choose to do so is urs an as far as why do they have the pleasure of purchasing something that we as some cnat afford for our own kids, well every one can buy a ps2 u can get them for under 99 dollars if u look around for them but wat kid wants a ps2 they want xbox or ps3 2 u have to lokk at wat they dont have to pay for carpayments carinsurance, house payments/rent things like that soem have to pay child supprt adn daycare still while they are incarseated but u know dang dont crap on them because of a few mistakes we all have them i mean so u get caught speeding oops should u be made to walk because u made a mistake and forced to live with that every day no dui convictions are dealt with and eventualy u get to drive again well some people they should have the oppertunity to show hey can be trusted again at some time

  6. Wayne Jemmings

    September 1, 2011 - 12:12 pm

    It would seem that the more you can find to occupy an inmates time the fewer problems you would encounter with them. A video game system would seem like an Ideal/economical way to provide time filling entertainment to break the monotony for someone with nothing to do but pass time. I don’t know exactly what sort of problems you could expect regarding contraband relating to the game systems but surely something could be done other than just outright banning them. Modified/special made systems for the DOC is the way it should be done. And clean up the prison system so such contraband isnt smuggled in by inmate families or as some say the facility staff themselves.

    Not all, but most inmates are people when they get incarcerated, they should not be molded into animals while doing their time so they can still be people when they are finished serving their time.

  7. Judy

    August 23, 2011 - 10:08 am

    I think the games if not violent will be a benifit to the DOC if the inmates have something to do with there time besides fight and sceem on the officers, and other inmates it would be a benifit to all, i know these pople did something wrong and they are paying for there crimes but maybe there could be a system where the gaming is a rewards for not reciveing tickets, and folling the DOC rules, i think it can be worked out to the better if given a chance, this sounds like a good ideal to me as long as the systems are unabled to be opened up, i dont see the issue, so instead of the DOC just trashing the ideal of gaming for inmates, use it to there benifit, like a reward of some sort of good, dont scrap this ideal work it out to better serve the DOC as well as the inmates. maybe have a sign out sheet and a sign in sheet like a loan only the inmates have to buy the system and and get only approved by DOC games ( non violent ) i think its a great ideal if put to the right use.

  8. Cerwydden

    August 23, 2011 - 5:33 am

    One of the most incorrect articles I have ever seen!! Throughout the entire video, the Playstation 3 was depicted and the inmates were using PS2!
    It should also be noted that an internal investigation found that most of the contraband (the porn and violent games) were being brought in by staff members. There was a great article in the Nevada Appeal, you can read it here http://www.nevadaappeal.com/article/20110804/NEWS/110809897&parentprofile=search

    The more I have to deal with the NDOC system, the more disenchanted I get.

  9. maureen

    August 19, 2011 - 10:54 am

    I am not against it at all, they allow them to have $400.00 flat screens why not allow them to have ps2 its there money they should be allowed to use however they like. Not only do they have flat screens but cable as well.

  10. Sheila Jensen

    August 18, 2011 - 11:00 am

    I am not for or against the inmates from having a playstation. What I have a problem with is that they are still human people who have needs. If they had more activities for these inmates, like being able to take school class that will be able to teach them skills so that when they do get out. They will have a better chance of going forward with their lives instead of not being able to do things because of lack of knowledge. Most of the men and women in jail are good people who made a bad decision and are paying the price. Shouldn’t we do more to help them so when they do get out they can make it on their own without government assistants.
    Also I have heard that the food is lacking alot. It has been said idle hands, idles minds leds to trouble. Lets give these inmates something to do to keep them busy. Also if they are good at crafts, let them make it and sell to help give them a sense of purpose and to help take care of thieir needs, clothes and food etc. The families do not always have the extra income to send them money for these items. Put them to work

  11. Brent

    August 18, 2011 - 10:27 am

    All across the country, the Department of Corrections would more appropriately be named the Department of Corruption. (The DRCI in Madras deliberately violates its own rules and laws, claiming that they don’t apply and irrelevant rules and laws DO.) This statement comes from first-hand experience with Oregon’s Department. The FIRST question that should be asked in the lawsuit is how much did the DoC make off the sale of the PSIIs? Or was the profit made by some relation to the DoC? What sort of kickback was involved?

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