Is the restriction of pornography to inmates because of the lack of literary diversity offered in prisons or because of a possible porn/violence connection? ABC reports: The American Civil Liberties Union is…

Steve Lohr describes a truly alarming development in facial recognition technology, showing how it is already in use to control prison populations, and in all probability before long, the general public. In the video below Dr. Rosalind Picard demonstrates two technologies invented at MIT that the company leading the research, Affectiva, is developing into products. Check it out and read the whole New York Times story, it’s information you should be fully aware of:

Hundreds of correctional officers from prisons across America descended last spring on a shuttered penitentiary in West Virginia for annual training exercises…


Nerds behind bars.The Volokh Conspiracy illuminates this tragic first-world problem.

In a decision issued today, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a Wisconsin prison’s rule forbidding inmates to play Dungeons & Dragons or possess D&D publications and materials [HT: Josh Blackman].

The prison’s rationale for the ban is that playing D&D might stimulate “gang activity” by inmates. But the government conceded that there is no evidence that Dungeons and Dragons actually had stimulated gang activity in the past, either in this prison or elsewhere. The only evidence for the supposedly harmful effects of Dungeons and Dragons were a few cases from other states where playing the game supposedly led inmates to indulge in “escapism” and become divorced from reality, one case where two non-inmates committed a crime in which they “acted out” a D&D story-line, and one where a longtime D&D player (not an inmate) committed suicide. Obviously, almost any hobby or reading material might lead people to become divorced from reality, or in rare cases commit suicide. And disturbed individuals could potentially “act out” a crime based on a scenario in almost any film or literary work. Should prisons ban The Count of Monte Cristo on the grounds that it might encourage escape attempts? Moreover, the “escapism” rationale conflicts with the gang argument. People who become engrossed in escapism and retreat from society are presumably less likely to become active gang members.