Over 36,000 prisoners allowed to own game consoles in the UK

Over 36,000 prisoners are allowed to own videogame consoles in the UK. According to The Independent, this accounts for one third of all the prisoners in England and Wales. Junior justice minister Crispin Blunt emphasized that no public money had been used to purchase consoles or games since 2008. The privilege is part of an incentives program to encourage good behavior from inmates.

However, it’s not clear how many of the 36,202 eligible prisoners actually own consoles. “To establish how many of those eligible actually had a games console of their own would necessitate asking each prisoner individually at disproportionate cost,” explained Blunt. “Since July 23,2008, no public funds have been used to purchase games consoles for adult prisoners. They must be purchased by the prisoner or his/her family or friends.”

Above: We don't think these guys would qualify for the good behavior privileges

News of prisoner privileges didn't sit well with Member of Parliament Philip Davies. “It’s just further evidence that prisons resemble more of a holiday camp than a place of punishment,” said Davies. “When people reflect on the reasons that inmates are in prison they will be appalled that prisoners are allowed to do this kind of thing. Prison should be a punishment for committing either serious or persistent offences. Most people will conclude that prison has completely lost sight of what its purpose is – punishing or even rehabilitating people.”

A 2008 audit revealed that 12,948 game consoles were purchased for use in prisons with taxpayers’ money. The cost of the consoles and games totaled £221,726. In 2009, it was revealed that over 4,000 prisoners had satellite TVs in their cells. Under the current incentives program, 83,017 prisoners are also allowed to rent televisions for their cells as a reward for good behavior.

Source: The Independent

Nov 10, 2010


  • Ivan200X - November 12, 2010 8:02 p.m.

    How good would it look for video games if video games help to actually rehabilitate inmates? What if video games reduce crime in the prisons? Prison guards have families too you know. What about their safety?
  • reaperman22 - November 12, 2010 11:07 a.m.

    they are in there to be punished, if you want to give them games i believe they should have to play i wanna be the guy and i wanna be the fangame (no checkpoints) and get all the bonus collectibles and if they can pull them both off in a row then they may be given a parole hearing.... most would take the death penalty
  • Sy87 - November 11, 2010 8:28 p.m.

    Thats a good way to rehabilitate. Soften them up with games they be to busy playing instead of working out or stabbing each other.
  • JohnnyMaverik - November 11, 2010 9:59 a.m.

    LOL @ all of the incensed Americans. I live in the UK and personally I couldn't care less. I'd much rather have no console and be out of jail than with console and in jail, and I know people who have been in jail and it is in no shape, way or form an "easy ride". Lock a man (or woman) in a bare cell for 5 years where his (or her) life is hell every single day or every single year and then see how much more fked up they are when they get out compared to when they went in. As for the taxpayers money, stop spending my cash on Nuclear weapons and then I'll bother listening to complaints about a couple of hundred grand (which is like specs of dust compared to how much of the taxpayers money is spent on Arms) being spent on buying a few thousand consoles. I still won't agree of course. There are far worse things to be incensed about when it comes to government spending in this country.
  • JosefMotley - November 11, 2010 7:40 a.m.

    prison is designed to rehabiliate people, i'm sick of the way the press (especially in england) jumps on figures like this. if we locked every convict away in a pitch black room with no stimulus they'd just come out more messed up and / or angrier. christ on a bike. phoenix put everything else i wanted to say better. people treat prisoners like they're no longer human or part of society. it's stupid. some people are in there for being stupid rather than being genuinely evil. most people deserve a second chance.
  • phoenix_wings - November 11, 2010 1:27 a.m.

    Sorry guys, that should say "ex-convict" there...but the rest of my point remains the same. And when you realize that most people only learn more inventive ways to commit crimes in prison when they're with other people and not working towards a common (good) goal, then it makes the appeal of teaching them all the better.
  • phoenix_wings - November 11, 2010 1:25 a.m.

    Sure beats an ass raping. I love people on the outside (not that I've ever been on the inside...) commenting on how people in prison have it easy. Honestly, think about it. These are things that people get on the outside, it keeps them occupied. All these people pretty much have is time, where they need to worry about getting shivved, being raped or what they're going to do with all the goddamned time on their hands. I suppose you guys take offense to making these guys get an education while behind bars too, right? Well consider this - most worthwhile employers (at least in Canada) either a) won't hire a convict b) require at least a college education. A lot of these people don't have the luxury of a college education when they're incarcerated. Personally, I'd rather spend money on getting them an education while they're inside than pay for them to sit on their ass on welfare when they get out. If gaming consoles encourage good behaviour, meaning working towards that education and not shivving others in the back during lunch break then I'm all for it.
  • thatblindgamer - November 11, 2010 1:05 a.m.

    Wow, what's next, if prisoners are good then they might allow them to get a mustang that they can drive in their private racetrack. Oh, after their meal of caviar and steak of course. Jeez, prison doesn't sound like it's a bad place anymore. Prison is for punishing people who have done wrong, not giving them more lavish lifestyles for breaking the law.
  • shadowreaper72 - November 11, 2010 12:27 a.m.

    Id say it depends on the crime the individual commited. If he murdered or raped someone, than fuck him. But if the most of their crime is stealing or something else that didnt put ones life in danger than sure why not.
  • Clovin64 - November 11, 2010 12:18 a.m.

    You get sattalite TV and games consoles in prison? Seriously? Prison just sounds better and better the more I hear about it.
  • DoctorCrazy - November 10, 2010 11:22 p.m.

    I cant wait to go to prison now!
  • Hobojedi - November 10, 2010 11:08 p.m.

    Good behavior incentives = good Even /more/ taxpayer money spent on prisoners leisure = bad
  • dropdeadjames - November 10, 2010 11:08 p.m.

    wow, prison sounds AWESOME!!!!!!!!
  • slowdrum13 - November 10, 2010 10:40 p.m.

    i think they should be able to possess them, but wtf is up with using taxpayer money to purchase consoles. They should be bought by the family, or by the inmate.
  • braydog92 - November 10, 2010 10:25 p.m.

    I'm going to continue my rage because I just thought of something. They should be made to play something truly punishing, like Dance Dance Revolution or Teletubbies on Ice. (Real ice, not iced, if you know what I mean.)
  • braydog92 - November 10, 2010 10:20 p.m.

    This is ridiculous. Privileges for good behavior should be GETTING OUT OF JAIL WHEN YOU'VE SERVED YOUR TIME! Not video games and TV. Come on, how stupid! I can picture it now, "A convicted murderer is now playing GTA4 in his cell. He's been good, so we let his family get it for him, how sweet." OK, my example is extreme, but metaphors are supposed to be exaggerative. :-)
  • Cleanser247 - November 10, 2010 10:16 p.m.

    I wonder if they are not allowed to play Teen, or Mature rated games.

Showing 1-17 of 17 comments

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