Guards are as likely to confiscate gaming materials (and punish inmates) for breaking the rules as they are to do the same because they stubbed their toe or someone looked at them funny.
Thankfully we do have some more progressive correctional programs making a little headway like the one I taught for, but nothing about this article surprised me.
edit: I accidentally a word.
Or not, if most of the incriminating information was eyewitness testimony, the #1 cause of wrongful convictions:
MY opinion of the US criminal justice system is that https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackstone%27s_formulation is almost definitely not being followed, with the bias far into the false-positive conviction camp.
Come to think of it, why is the criminal justice system not "tested"? In other words, set up a mock situation where you know in advance who is innocent and who is not (because it's a setup), and run a mock trial by all the rules using actual jurors, and compare the outcome of the trial to the actual innocence or guilt of the actor?
Prosecutors and law enforcement stack charges so that it appears to be a 'good deal' to just accept a plea deal rather than risk trial and spending decades behind bars on the slight chance you will be falsely convicted.
IMO this is the single biggest problem with our system.
Plea bargaining and prosecutorial discretion makes a mockery of due process.
Overloaded public defenders and the lack of competent and affordable defense attorneys shifts most of this problem to the lower income brackets.
The problem in the US is that poor innocent suspects have heavily stacked odds in a trail: multiple biases in judges and juries and no good lawyer with enough time for their defense. So an innocent must take the plea bargain because trail isn't a reasonable option.
Probably for the same reason most things are or aren't done - some form of status-quo bias. I mean, someone has to think of the idea, push it, administer it, etc. It's a lot of work. And no one really has an incentive to do that work right now.
Btw, your statement isn't really accurate:
>> I think people usually go to prison for the legally correct reason
>Or not, if most of the incriminating information was eyewitness testimony, the #1 cause of wrongful convictions:
The fact that eyewitness testimony is the #1 cause of wrongful convictions doesn't tell us anything about the rate at which wrong convictions occur. It's possible for eyewitness testimony to be the #1 cause of wrongful convictions, but for there to be only e.g. 3 wrong convictions a year out of 100k trials. Which would probably be pretty "acceptable".
(I say this because it sounded like you were making the common probability mistake of flipping two things: knowledge of how often a wrongful conviction is caused by eyewitness testimony, and knowledge of how often eyewitness testimony causes a wrongful conviction. Knowing the former doesn't mean we know the latter. Not sure if you're actually claiming this, but wanted to clarify what it sounded like to me).
"It is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer." Three innocent people being punished is a travesty and in no way acceptable.
And sadly, in a world of imperfect information, it is arguable that 3 wrongly convicted innocents out of 100,000 trials is "acceptable," because you're never going to get to 100% precision/accuracy.
I don't disagree that it's unrealistic to achieve 100% accuracy, but it should never be accepted - we should never, ever stop striving for improvement in this arena, and to err on the side of letting people go free if it can't be conclusively and impartially proven they are guilty.
I'm not sure how you would test it. You can run a "mock" trial, although I'm not sure it's so easy - to be realistic, I think you need to create a scenario which can plausibly go in either direction (innocent or guilty). But what would that tell you? I mean, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is a pretty high standard and all, but if you make it seem pretty clear that someone is guilty when they're "really" innocent, that doesn't mean much, because this is fiction - you made up a tricky case, and people got it wrong. So what? The question is how often does real life cause a tricky scenario to manifest.
You can go the other way and set up a situation that's pretty clear, but I'm not sure that will be very insightful.
That's not to say we can't think of some way to test the system which does work - I'm sure smarter and more knowledgeable people than me can think of something. But that brings us to problem number 2 - now what? Let's say people got it wrong. What do you do? It's not like you can just change the way trials work - you need laws for that.
The most you can reasonably do is use trial tests as a basis for potentially changing the law, but that's before any politics gets involved. Realistically, I'm not sure you can do much more than gets done now - once in a while an article gets written about a specific bad practice, it causes a public stir, and the law maybe gets changed. I'm not sure systematizing any of the testing steps really changes anything else in this picture.
And we might as well ask about easier things, why don't we test them. I.e. why not test economic policies by building "test cities" which have different economic policies, and seeing which ones work? The States kind-of does this with different laws in different States. So there is kind of a natural experiment of the effect of different laws on economics, on justice, etc. This does affect some things, but I'm not sure the effect is very large (but then again, I'm not an American, so I'm not that up to date on the politics there. It's certainly an idea that a lot of lip-service is paid to, but maybe it's more than that).
I would be exactly behind this. See: the old definition of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technocracy
You could run a trial with multiple independent juries, or record a trial and play it back to a set of juries and judges to see if they come up with the same verdict and sentence. This would help determine whether a given jury has a particularly forceful and prejudiced member, or if a hanging judge is handing out unfair sentences.
I'd be surprised if that sort of thing doesn't already happen occasionally. However, all this does is indicate where a problem might be, rather than validate a potential solution.
A/B testing of potential enhancements would be very difficult and limited. There are too many confounding factors. Judge and jury would have to be different each time. Witness testimony may seem unconvincingly rehearsed, or more convincingly thorough, the nth time they give it. Defendants will be able to avoid incriminating traps the prosecuting barrister set in previous iterations of the trial.
Not if you're one of the 3.
I can think of a few.
1. That costs time and money. Even if it would help, I see it being very difficult to justify, essentially, "secret shoppers" for the court system. I think it also kind of underestimates how much time, money, and effort goes into trials. It's not like a quick batch of unit tests. It involves lawyers, judges, jury selection (if it's a jury trial), etc. And juries themselves are made up of people who have to take time off work, miss important events, etc. You can't just (somehow while avoiding detection) fake a trial, and then go "surprise, this was just a test!" At the very least it would just piss a lot of people off.
That's not to say that there's no way to make sure our legal system is functioning properly, it's just I don't think mock trials are the right approach. Currently, I believe, the rest of the court system is relied upon to police itself, with the help of the legislative branch. Different levels of courts, ostensibly, keep each other in check (e.g. if you disagree with a lower court ruling, you can appeal to a higher court, which then makes a decision, and if you don't like that, you can appeal to the Supreme Court, etc.) Congress also has the power to do things like create federal judgeships, so presumably they have other powers to regulate and manage the federal judiciary (state judiciaries are, I imagine, left to the individual states to oversee.)
2. Cynically, there are certain vested interests that want the legal system to function the way it does (e.g. people who own private prisons and people who profit off of minor drug offenders being put away for life). There's also good old fashioned racism and classism, helping keep the overwhelmingly poor, black prison population stuck where they are.
3. I don't think it would actually tell you much; there are too many variables: different lawyers, different judges, different jurors, different facts, etc. Even if you ran the same trial with the exact same people and circumstances, but on a different day or something, you could get wildly different results. The court system is not deterministic, not by a long shot.
The court system also doesn't deal in absolutes like that. It's not "is this person definitely guilty of a crime?", it's "are we sure, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this person committed a crime (based on all of the evidence)?" Because it's impossible to know the entire truth. Sometimes it's impossible to know much of anything at all, at least with certainty. Did OJ commit those murders? We'll never /know/ know in the sense that when I flip a coin I can see that it lands on heads, or in the sense that I know the earth is a spheroid (i.e. it's something that happened in the past and we're trying to determine exactly the series of events given limited information).
#2 and #3 are saying the same thing: The powers that be know the system is broken, and don't want to fix it, and therefore want to suppress evidence that shows the brokenness.
But let's entertain the idea and say that you get the trial to happen, and your innocent person was found guilty, or vice versa. What do you do with this information? It doesn't help you because you know the outcome already, but in real trials, you don't know, a priori, exactly what happened (unless you were a witness to something, but even then). So a court messed up. What do you do? Real cases don't operate on some outside observer knowing, in advance, what's going to happen. It's why trials are, at best, a good faith attempt at figuring out what happened and dispensing justice appropriately. Everyone just tries, to the best of their ability (ostensibly; I'm ignoring things like biases and such), to piece together the truth, and render an appropriate judgement.
False convictions have a gargantuan cost in time, money, and human suffering.
Justice is incredibly important. We need to get it right.
(Not that I think that money is the reason this doesn't get done).
If you used this argument against something like TDD (in which a 15% extra upfront cost is more than paid for by a 60-90% reduction in produced bugs, according to the Nagappan paper), it would fall flat.
If you do it enough times you will get a picture of precision and recall, which IMHO would be an important determinant of effectiveness. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precision_and_recall
Do you actually know this is true? Have you tested this?
There are a lot of people out there who haven't been exposed to drugs who believe that people who take drugs actually deserve to die. Recently in New Zealand several people ended up in hospital after taking dodgy "MDMA", the sheer number of comments on Facebook about how they had it coming, or they deserved it, or how they shouldn't have been admitted into hospital were disgusting.
Regardless of whether they did was right or wrong, these are still human beings, they still have friends and families. Just the other day I walked past a dead heroin addict being wheeled into an ambulance. They had it coming to them, but I didn't feel like they deserved it. Nobody deserves to die on a street corner from an overdose.
It's the same thing with prison. Out of sight, out of mind. If people have never met someone who has gone to prison, then to them it's an abstract concept. They can't imagine the pain or suffering. I've met a couple of people who've served time for drug related charges. Neither of them wanted to commit the crimes they did, but they hit rock bottom. When you're addicted to methamphetamine, you don't exactly think clearly or logically.
But people don't see this. They see the world through the lens of their own reality and their own circumstances. It's the same thing that causes wealthy people to say that poor people just need to get better jobs. They have no concept of the world that these people live in.
If people have never met someone who has LOST A CHILD TO MURDER, then to them it's an abstract concept. They can't imagine the pain or suffering. I've met a couple of people who've LOST THEIR CHILD.
That daughter can never be replaced. The father just about bankrupted himself traveling 1500 miles each way to be at the court for every hearing. It's been over a dozen years, largely fighting over the issue of being fit for trial. There has been a conviction-turned-mistrial related to the killer having a disagreement with his court-assigned lawyer over his plea. The killer refuses to take medication and may be of questionable sanity. He is likely to go free soon. The father still shows up to court, older and poorer every time, dedicating his life to keeping the killer locked up by keeping the prosecutor and judge aware that somebody cares.
You're lacking in compassion for people like that broken forever-grieving father when you argue for less punishment.
Compassion is not a zero-sum game.
Anything beyond that is just adding insult to injury and only serves to reflect badly on the correctional system itself. For instance, I don't understand under what logic prisoners absolutely need to have their stuff chucked out on a regular basis. It serves to do what, besides further humiliate people who are already driven into the ground?
You fuck up once and then your whole life goes in the shitter? What sense does that make? Whom does it benefit?
Isn't the question why voters are so cruel? Why do American Christians only make headlines when they preach hatred against the LBQT community?
I heard you like to manufacture jeans and number plates. How about I pay you to house some workers you hardly have to pay to do the work?
But you're right about cost reduction. I think it costs somewhere around $40k per year to incarcerate an inmate, so how about we just pay them? We can literally put them in a flatshare, feed them and water them, and it'll still be cheaper than putting them in jail.
Who would you rather have as your neighbor: A person in a human prison that has had the help they need, including a push towards becoming a good neighbor - or someone that has been mistreated, tortured, and/or made to be a slave (prison labor) for what could be years, and then punished so severely when they get out that they have trouble meeting their parole duties without resorting to illegal activities?
I don't know about you, but I'd rather live next to the first. Most prisoners are future neighbors. Most are someone's family member. Wouldn't it be prudent to do what we can to make the person an upstanding member of society?
I fully agree with you, just filling in for the crazy side.
We need to dump our gut feelings on the subject of incarceration and craft policy based on evidence and effectiveness instead.
We carved our own out of bars of "state soap" (the cheap Barker brand inmate soap that gets distributed in just about every institution). We carved out the little divots on each side for the numbers and used Kool-Aid to stain them. Some of the older guys who had been incarcerated for a long time were so good at making them that they were damn near indistinguishable from the real thing until you felt them of course (they were made out of soap after all). They actually rolled fairly true as well.
1: they could also carve out some very intricate chess pieces. I mean these were damn near works of art. You couldn't use state soap for those though, it's far too thin and brittle. You needed the good Ivory-brand stuff from the commissary.
at school we used those as dices directly, notches on each of their six sides, making them roll in a bunch was random enough.
The end of the piece that sticks out from the cap worked just like a tiny plastic shovel
I was a gamer in my teens. One younger member of the group was probably being given a hard time by his religious family for being a gamer. He was often absent from gaming sessions.
The weekends he was absent consistently included stories like a drunken car wreck, and now he has a broken leg, or a wild party where some gal says he is the daddy and he has no idea if he even slept with her.
I never could fathom why his family didn't just tell him to go gaming every weekend. We fed him free food, used no drugs or alcohol and drove him home safe.
But we were Satan worshippers, I guess, because we gamed. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
What I found abhorrent is that the people interviewed in that book, ended up being prescribed meds by good professional Christian Doctors using all means to change their paths from evil. To avoid D&D as it was the devils work.
I would say that those parent's were mentally ill and/or uneducated and that the doctor's were mentally ill and/or uneducated.
There's no functional difference between "sincerely" believing something that isn't true, and just plain old normal "insincere" believing something that isn't true.
It's more common than you think.
Nothing in that comment surprised me and made me wonder if that kid was raised in a JW household before finally getting out of the house and turning hard into the party life. It's way too common of a story, kids raised under the thumb of the Watchtower Bible and Tract society going off to college, not having the church on their backs constantly, and practically cannonball into the party lifestyle that they'd been sheltered and repressed from their entire teenage years.
I know because I was one of those kids.
This was in Georgia, deep in The Bible Belt. Hellfire and Brimstone types seem to vastly outnumber the Christians who read the parts of the Bible about love thy neighbor and judge not lest ye be judged.
I've known sincere Christians that I respected. I have known a lot more that make me think of the passage about someone telling Jesus "Someday, people will do things in your name" and he replies "And I will say I never knew them."
Yes, known some even.
> Ever hear how people who managed to pull themselves out of that looney bin talk about the way they view the outside world and especially games like DnD?
I've seen mixed reactions, from participating, to seeing it as time wasting, to seeing it as prohibited because of the use of dice (some JWs view the gambling prohibition to extend to all dice), to seeing it as undesirable because of content (specifically fantasy occultism), to stronger negative reactions based on the same kind of myths that originated and were, AFAICT, more popular in fundamentalist / evangelical mainstream American Christianity.
Meanwhile, every single gamer who left Germany came to my apartment to tearfully say goodbye because gaming at my apartment was an escape from eating at the mess hall and getting drunk at bars. It was the only thing that kept them sane and not an alcoholic.
I don't know about most gaming groups, but where I have been, it's a bastion of civilization in an otherwise cold, cruel world.
Gaming has much to offer, as does the social scene at a bar. Where I’ve been these two aren’t at odds. I wonder why they have been in your experiences - maybe it’s the military scene (referencing where you said mess hall).
In the US, soldiers are mostly not locals and spouses have a hard time getting a job because everyone knows you will move again in two or three years. But they want your money.
At our first duty station, the landlords were raising rent every three months until a General threatened to build enough on base housing to kill the local rental market. Suddenly, they had an agreement with the local landlords and the active gouging stopped.
Another story I heard: They paid all the soldiers in cash in two dollar bills, then had a meeting with local merchants and suggested they count what percentage in their tills was in two dollar bills and rethink their approach to some things or get blacklisted by the base.
In a foreign country, the degree to which a soldier is met with open animosity while everyone wants their money is typically more bald faced than in the US, where it is bad enough. These guys could not trust that local women were really interested in dating them for any reason other than their money or a green card. Going to a bar was not a very good means to establish social contacts.
Or so I gather from what I was told.
Local German women interested in a green card? Sounds unlikely.
Marrying a soldier was a fast and surefire way to get one, so I can quite well imagine that.
Where in the US are soldiers met with open animosity? The military and soldiers are glorified to an extreme, in my experience.
That's illegal. Maybe it wasn't back then, since I have no idea what timeframe you're talking about, but it has been for some time.
One devout partner implored me to stop meditating (during my Zen & Buddha kick) because she didn't want me to succumb to Satan. Another believer partner educated me about ghosts (tl;dr: they're every where). A coworker told me my cancer was caused by negative thoughts and that germ theory was a conspiracy.
Whaddya gonna do?
My fear is that I'm unknowingly harboring some wildly irrational beliefs.
A friend once told me that meditation allows demons to take over your mind and make you crazy. This guy has a physics PhD, and not only believes this but also that global warming is an evil communist conspiracy designed to steal our freedoms. Not precisely his words, but close enough.
A good friend was told by his girlfriend that she couldn't marry him unless he converted and joined her church. Another of my friends was a member of that church, and won't talk about his time there (he's really messed up, and if you touch him accidentally he almost loses it) but tells me that it's all about control and power.
> My fear is that I'm unknowingly harboring some wildly irrational beliefs.
I have very much the same fear. I know I have held stupid beliefs ("depression isn't real, harden up!" was particularly ironic, as I was depressed, didn't know it, and that attitude was a result).
The beauty is, that makes you uniquely able to identify and eradicate them.
I've said some bullshit things before, people have called me out on them. I usually defend them for way too long.
That's called being human.
When people keep calling me out, with facts, I don't always immediately concede but I do think about it, and sometimes I realize I'm being an idiot.
It would be nice if I was constantly afraid my beliefs were stupid. Conviction requires additional convincing.
They sorta have. If you want to send a book to an inmate, it must be paperback, must be brand new, and shipped from the retailer.
The books cannot have "controversial" material. I've heard of some tech books getting rejected because of "hacking".
I know all of this because I have participated in my local Anarchist Black Cross events which is a prison abolition group. Often times, we would hear about some of the prisoners we wrote to having to undergo solitary confinement for some amount of time for minor rule violations.
The US prison system as a form of rehabilitation is a cruel joke. Prisoners are treated as scum the moment they enter with no rights. Worse, when prisoners leave, they expect the inmates to adjust back to life normally while employers can discriminate against the former inmates, and the government still treats them like scum. Often times, former inmates can't even rent housing anymore and political/social elites act so surprised that homelessness is on the rise.
So if the objective was to re-create slavery, they did a very poor job out of it.
No, our prison system hurts all races: white, black, Asian, native, etc. And sadly -- because of the racism prevalent in US society -- if we want true prison reform, we have to educate people that prison affects all communities, and not just communities of color.
Because there will never be reform as long as around 30% of America's white population believes that prison mainly hurts black people.
Just like it took heroin to finally wake white Americans up to the fact that the drug war is hurting us all, so we must find a way to wake people up to the fact that the prison system is terrible burden to us all. Repeating the false claim that prison is primarily a black problem only prolongs the problem.
But it should not, and can not, not be divorced from the abstract concept of what slavery is. Slavery is about power, and slaves come in many forms and fashions. And if you forget that, you'll be made a slave yourself. You don't have to be in chains to be one. This is what OP is referring to -- not that prisons and their systems seek to reintroduce "black american slavery", but to reintroduce, and normalize, the abstract concept of 'slavery' in society, all on its own. That's much more dangerous.
You see it in a lot of places where people talk about the lives prisoners lived, during and after release -- go check the comments on any news article. You'll see how many people think it is "just" that said convict has their entire being and life crushed. That it's good, good that they're a slave, in return for the crimes they committed.
This isn't really very different from what you're saying, in a sense -- that everyone is set back when we lose track of these things. But the difference between "slave" meaning "black american slaves" and "slave as a concept" is an important distinction to draw. There's an important ontological gap, there.
Frederick Douglass took note of this well over 150 years ago:
> The power of the antebellum slaveholding class, after all, resided not only in its direct domination of black slaves, but in its ability to divide and exploit an even larger multiracial working class. Douglass knew how well this system worked from bitter personal experience: As a hired slave in Baltimore, he was assaulted by white dockworkers with bricks and handspikes. Yet he remained clearheaded about who benefited from this racial violence. As he wrote in 1855: “The slaveholders, with a craftiness peculiar to themselves, by encouraging the enmity of the poor, laboring white man against the blacks, succeeds in making the said white man almost as much a slave as the black slave himself…. Both are plundered, and by the same plunderers.”
He used the term "recreate slavery", which in this context would mean to re-establish the chattel slavery of people of African ancestry that existed previously in US. And the article he referenced very specifically discussed African-American slavery. So that's what I responded to.
As an aside, Americans of Scotch-Irish  ancestry (which includes my own background) are a very vengeful people. This culture, which also has some positive traits (bravery, loyalty, etc), had a huge impact on the general culture United States and its attitudes toward criminal justice.
But if you've never been around rural people of Scotch-Irish ancestry, you'd probably find their beliefs on justice fairly shocking. These are the people who often believe that if someone who goes to prison for a relatively minor, non-violent offense, and is raped in prison -- even if they're a family member! -- that this person "had it coming" or "deserved it". Prison is for suffering, not redemption.
Ironically, these same people are frequently very overt Christians, often evangelicals (they converted en masse from Calvinism--typically Presbyterianism--to Baptist during the great awakenings of the 19th century). But they're definitely Old Testament Christians, with not much use for most of the New Testament (except perhaps Revelations).
Anyway, combine that kind of culture with some of the other factors you describe, and you end up with the prison culture we have today in the United States.
1. And no, for us it's not "Scots-Irish". "Scotch-Irish" was in common usage when they immigrated to the US in the 18th century, and that's what's been passed down over the years (and it's how my grandparents described our ancestry, which after careful genealogical study was indeed Ulster Scots with a bit of German thrown in):
The elite need their lower class.
I'll add a couple of common arguments that at least get you thinking, even if they aren't as powerful as evidence.
First, note that mass incarceration began after segregation and other civil rights abuses were outlawed. One ramped down and the other ramped up. Many believe that one tool of oppression merely replaced another.
Second, the legal and prison system have always been used, since the Civil War, to oppress black Americans. Mass incarceration wasn't a new tool, but an expansion of an old one. And it extends into today, as has been well-publicized recently. Or I'm sure everyone has heard the phrase, 'driving while black'. I've personally witnessed that kind of abuse.
There are a heck of a lot of people who would do it, and nearly every potential victim has a family member who would insist on doing the dirty work.
I was rather incredulous at the time because
a) they thought it was the case that spells in D&D work in our reality
b) there didn't appear to be a Mind Bondage spell.....unless perhaps they meant Charm Person?
What's their take on Stranger Things?
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
One of the things that really struck me is that when the prison stopped offering programs to occupy the inmates time, they tended to fill it themselves. By getting into fights. So aside from the punishment aspect, there seems to be real value to the system to have pastimes that keep a lid on things, be they work programs, classes, or a cheap board game.
If it were only for the former reason, capital punishment wouldn't exist.
As it turns out, they're not particularly effective. The people who go and hold up a convenience store aren't doing it because of a reasoned cost-benefit analysis based on risk of capture, differential value of prison vs freedom, and future discount rates. They're doing it because they don't do those things.
That leaves three real reasons:
2) Reducing society's exposure to criminal elements
3) Punishment as a moral good in itself, as a way to rectify injustice.
Conversely, at least some percentage of the people who don't have made that cost-benefit analysis.
Plus some part of the people who go and commit felonies, mainly the young and naive, have made at least some basic cost-benefit analysis; they mistakenly think they'll be the leaders/tough ones in prison and it'll be okay.
I'm not a fan of the punitive prison model, but fear of consequences is a good deterrent.
(I sound like an uptight prick, but I'm speaking from experience. Then again, I've never been in a US prison, so I can't say much about them and I don't like what little I know)
..In the US.
Everything you say after that needs to be filtered through the same lens. You seem to be making a global statement about why people commit crimes without a lot of support for it.
At least some proportion of the population are deterred by the possibility of being caught and punished.
I said nothing about adding ten years to sentence lengths. I don’t know, and don’t claim to know what the optimal length of sentence (or other punishment) is, except that it is not zero.
This seems weird to you because it's not how your mind works, but it's what the data indicates.
It's only a "complete" solution if you actually have the right person.
The term recidivism means "the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend."
Thus it only applies to the already convicted. If they weren't caught and convicted, and they reoffend, it's not recidivism.
Whether it works for deterrence is an empirical question, but the purpose and emphasis of the criminal justice system is changing constantly and is determined by the pressure of movements.
Characterizing rehabilitation as the overwhelming objective of human justice ignores very significant other objectives.
My guess is that a lot of problems stem from gambling debts -- you can allow cards and stem gambling a bit by preventing chips from being introduced (in whatever form). With DnD tracking across the game is important so it's not as easy to prevent a ledger from forming.
As May wrote in the article, DnD was banned much as gambling was banned on premises at my high school, but as long as nothing bad happened and the participants were good people the ban was not enforced. The situation they're trying to avoid is inmate A shanks inmate B because B stole his heroin, and in the investigation, he's not dumb enough to mention H but is smart enough to ramble about B's chaotic evil necromancer screwing over the team (and what would you expect, anyway?). Likewise I grew up before Columbine when it was "normal" to build levels in FPS matching your school blueprint because, hey, we all know our school layout and there ARE some good camping points, and this is number 311613 on the list of fun things to do when I was young that would get you swatted or at least arrested today, back then if you weren't a screw up they complimented your obvious skill at possibly getting into CAD drafting. Anyway in a similar manner if players run the Rise of the Runelords campaign they're almost certainly in the clear, but if they make something up where the characters kill the wife or kid of castle guard X and then gloat about it and have a big laugh, then real world corrections officer coincidentally also named X is inevitably going to flip the table when he finds out regardless if its permitted or not and a documented policy that RPGs is prohibited is just the usual thin blue line stuff.
Pariahdog119's advice about simply play any RPG except the famous DnD, was also helpful in 80s public school. The more rules lawyerly kids who signed a pledge at church to never play DnD to prevent the devil from stealing their soul or whatever, were chill about the zillions of almost-clones of DnD that existed. The only name I remember from that era was "Castle Perilous" and it had a yellow cover with a pretty amazing ink drawing on the cover. And via the magic of google I found a link to a picture. I probably haven't seen that book in 35 years or so. Pretty wild. Oddly enough I don't remember any of my public school textbooks but I remember "Castle Perilous" LOL. In that book there is a dungeon raid and I DMed it with some friends and my now long since deceased grandfather, insisted on playing with us to make sure I wasn't up to anything inappropriate as he had heard of the DnD controversy, and he ended up enjoying the RPG experience greatly, and in retrospect I wish I had invited him to other RPG games. That was probably about 1982 or so.
We used a cardboard spinner with a push tack for the pivot.
Given the (growing) number of private, for-profit prisons - that would be seen as a feature, not a bug. Because if they leave worse off, they'll likely be returning - thus generating a steady income stream courtesy of taxpayers.
Cynical, yes - but likely true.
Private systems in general are more responsive to incentives than public systems and less likely to be captured by vested interests (e.g. prison guard unions). If used wisely (i.e. with appropriate incentives) they can be a huge force for good.
Of course the actual incentives used are terrible so end result is an amplification of all the bad aspects of the prison system :(
The last time I looked they were statistically insignificant. Even then I don't agree with the concept but if my hazy memory is correct it was close to 5 percent
> the overall trend over the past decade has been a slow increase
> In the past two decades CCA has seen its profits increase by more than 500 percent. The prison industry as a whole took in over $5 billion in revenue in 2011.
> A 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Justice asserts that privately operated federal facilities are less safe, less secure and more punitive than other federal prisons
Interestingly some of the early board games used spinners as dice where seen as sinful, normally by the more hard core protestants.
This brought to mind the fact that in Japan, cards were considered to be the more pernicious influence on gambling, which eventually led to a card deck that was pessimized for gambling. Of course, people can gamble on anything they can play, so it didn't exactly work.
In summary, even if the old dice were not fair, it was not an issue because they were a manifestation of the divine.
Wouldn't it make more sense to allow inmates access to dice and real spinners? They're human beings with brains. Wouldn't correction officers prefer that they spent their time playing games instead of thinking of ways to escape or "cause trouble"?
"The house always wins" turns a prison into an organized structure of debtors and owners fairly rapidly, I'd imagine. And you can't fault the far fewer security guards from wanting to avoid a face-off with a unified enemy.
Well, also because in most states gambling is itself (entirely or, at least, without a whole lot of bureaucratic compliance stuff) illegal, and it would be very odd to reverse that prohibition in prisons.
Nonsense. First, while this is phrased to position government as an alternative to violence, forcing repayment of loans with government involves both violence and a monopoly—a monopoly on "legitimate" violence being the main factor which all governments have in common. Second, government cannot be relied upon to force repayment of loans (e.g. they allow debts to be discharged in bankruptcy). Third, social pressure can effectively force people to repay their loans without resorting to violence. As things stand today, the main factor that keeps people from skipping out on loans is not the threat that the government might get involved, or a more general fear of violence, but rather the impact it would have on their credit score—in other words, the risk of acquiring a reputation as someone who does not repay their debts, and consequently losing access to future credit.
The way the world works is someone does something stupid or incomprehensible where the most minor detail includes topic X. The report of the foolishness goes up the infinite hierarchy of micromanagers to someone who wants to make a statement to his superior of his great leadership skills by permanently "solving" the problem by banning whatever topic X is. Then months or years later the individual event of stupidity is long forgotten but the weird written order against topic X will remain for all eternity...
I can't find the relevant video clip, but it's from a school house rock parody
Something must be done
I am doing something
Therefore something is being done
Then again not every one has quite the same take on peaky Blinders as I do ;-)
24d10 becomes 0-240, so change it to 0-256 and you've got 8 flips (8d2?)
Distribution won't be correct but hey, 8 flips
24d10 is 24 independently rolled d10's, that means we convolute the uniform distribution with itself 24 times and the result will be nearly indistinguishable from a scaled bell curve.
Edit: Click the “Graph” button here to visualize: http://anydice.com/program/4ddf
For large dice counts like that, it's probably better to just use a manual table for a bell curve based on ~8-10 flips. No human player is going to care about result fidelity beyond a thousand possible results anyway.
That gets you to 4.48 amortized flips per d10.
Above 3d10 the rate of re-rolls increases; 20 flips for 6d10 gives a worse amortized cost than two sets of three.
This has the guaranteed correct distribution ('correct' being 'uniform'), too!
EDIT: I guess, to be more clear about the algorithm: flip 8 coins and convert this result to binary. If the result is greater than 240, flip the eight coins again. The number of total 8-coin-flips that need to be done on average is something like 1.062, and the likelihood that you need to perform n 8-coin-flips to receive a result ≤ 240 vanishes exponentially as (15/256)^(-n).
EDIT: I screwed up again, 24d10 is 24 dice with 10 values. Oops. Point is still roughly the same!
For the more common case of a d20, you could do 5 coin flips, but doing 6 instead gives you much more wiggle room. In that case, you only have to ignore values [60,63] so you only have a 1/16 chance of needing to redo the coin flips. It would be tedious but doable (particularly if you had some system where you could prepare rolls while waiting for your turn).
d4 = 2 flips guaranteed, definitely not bad.
d6 = 3 flips expected.
d8 = 3 flips guaranteed.
d10 = 4 flips.
d12 = 4 flips.
For something more typical but still nasty, a Fireball with 8d6 would take ~24 coin flips. Also, if I were a prison DM in this situation, I would probably take the time to homebrew the system so it only uses power of 2 rolls, i.e. d2, d4, d8, d16, and maybe d32. I would probably do d16 instead of d20 since d32 would be rolling 5 rolls quite often and a d16 is closer to a d20.
Overall, the difficulty would not be the coin flips but doing the math to keep track of everything.
Even if they restrict you from doing that, another option would be to do some sort of manual pseudo-rng. That option would probably be faster if you have access to a scientific calculator.
You could even insure an even distribution and have like 1-6 in there 4 or 5 times (if it's a d6), and don't return the slips back to the pile until the pile is depleted.
Or you can do what I've done for testing pen and paper game designs where a die wasn't handy, and do the above and write the series of results down in a list on a separate paper, and then refer to the next number in the list when you're playing.
I even did it where I put the numbers into several 4 by 4 square grids, and would simulate different games by picking the next number by from the grid but going from different directions (left, right, up, down, etc).
Some people get really mad with true randomness and think the system is rigged. Something I've learned when designing video games. Settlers of Catan have Dice Cards they sell for people who hate that "the 4 alwaaaaays gets rolled and my 8 didn't get rolled once, that's bullshit!"
d4=2 bits+1, d6=3 bits rerolling 0/7, d8=3 bits+1, d10=4 bits rerolling 0/11-15, d12 similar, d20=5 bits rerolling 0/21-31. I suspect that most gamers could pick that up pretty quickly with just a bit of practice.
If you remove Kings and any Jokers you have 4 sets 1-12, which mod 6 gives you 8 sets of 1-6 in a single deck (an equivalent to 8d6 can go a long way). For less card math you could just use the 4 sets of face value 1-6 cards. If you replace cards every "roll" and fair shuffle, you have relatively fair dice.
Of course, trick shuffles are too easy an unfair advantage in that situation that I wouldn't suggest playing something like Craps or Yahtzee with Playing Cards, but could certainly be fair enough for a collaborative RPG environment. Similarly, card replacement and amount of shuffling could be relaxed in a RPG setting if the table agrees to allow "unfair" failure/success patterns (which can lead to interesting trade-offs to roleplay; I can succeed at this first die check, but already know I have to fail the next).
ETA: Playing cards and spinners are both mentioned in the linked article. The article describes using a deck for 1d20 as opposed to 8d6 as mentioned above, which makes sense given a D&D context.
I once ran a group adventure where the players' characters were hired by a noble to provide escort for his daughter to a distant kingdom. Along the way, in every town the players stayed, mysterious murders started taking place. Over the trip, authorities started to suspect the adventurers due to circumstances. This really rankled the players and when they discovered the noble daughter in their charge was an evil assassin having fun, they had a massive range of emotions to their reaction. Not only did they have to prove their innocence, they had to find evidence to do so. Some of the players were really torn - what would the noble father do to them if they turned the daughter over? What would happen to them if they didn't?
One interesting effect to running a good adventure in the prison was that a number of non-playing inmates wanted to hear about the latest gaming events, much like following a soap opera.
Is the point of prison to be miserable every single day? How is hating yourself, your life and everything every day supposed to make somebody a better person?
It often feels like the US is mentally speaking where we were 100 years ago in Norway. It is just bizarre how such a modern innovative country is so backwards with respect to how people are treated. Norway legislated national maternity leave over 100 years ago. It still doesn't exist in the US.
Somehow it seems like the US is regressing. Many of the progressive ideas we use came from the US originally. Liberal American professors have spread ideas which have benefited Nordic countries a lot, such as Harvey Milkman which solved the drug and subsistence abuse in Iceland.
He also details the spinner:
> With unlimited paper and pencils provided by the federal government, we had everything we needed except for a set of variously sided dice. It turned out that this was generally handled by making a spinner out of cardboard, a paperclip, and the empty internal plastic tube from an ink pen. This latter item is impaled loosely on the paperclip, itself positioned in the center of the cardboard, on which has been drawn a diminishing series of concentric circles divided into 20, 12, 10, 8, 6, and 4 equal segments, respectively.
Just add water and push them into the corner of the locker. When it dries, put on dots and wrap it in clear tape to protect the dots.
Furthermore, even if cards are explicitly allowed by the rules, that doesn't mean that cards (along with pretty much anything else) can't be confiscated at any moment. For those instances, it's good to have a backup that involves materials that are always on hand.
Also, now have a few more ideas of how to get creative when pieces of games are missing. Creativity FTW.
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
a 6 15 14 16 18 4 12 16 11 5 7 13 9 3 7 1 11 9 5 2 4 16 20 13 20 20
b 18 13 5 16 3 13 8 5 20 1 15 18 20 20 6 12 3 9 2 15 11 3 9 1 13 14
c 18 10 12 6 1 18 1 1 11 11 8 15 14 20 20 19 19 17 17 19 17 10 1 4 7 10
d 13 6 3 10 17 15 10 12 6 15 20 2 11 1 8 3 3 7 11 19 6 3 13 2 8 17
e 1 4 12 19 17 12 13 6 3 15 9 14 14 9 10 11 19 4 15 10 16 3 14 4 1 9
f 2 2 2 14 7 5 6 13 14 14 16 12 13 13 9 2 9 12 16 11 20 1 12 5 12 20
g 16 8 7 5 1 18 12 8 1 13 13 8 13 2 17 10 12 1 9 11 10 13 5 18 17 12
h 17 13 6 13 17 16 14 1 10 5 6 19 20 1 6 16 16 10 6 12 3 13 15 19 16 6
i 15 12 20 3 6 12 9 17 4 7 1 9 19 9 11 7 5 5 7 9 12 6 5 1 1 10
j 14 12 19 11 1 12 14 12 14 10 12 8 18 4 9 4 13 4 10 13 1 1 2 14 19 14
k 19 1 7 17 5 4 15 9 14 5 7 3 2 12 14 20 14 15 8 12 10 8 5 19 16 3
l 4 15 7 7 1 4 6 6 15 15 15 15 6 15 3 17 9 6 10 15 18 13 20 16 19 20
m 14 19 13 14 14 5 12 5 11 5 16 7 18 10 14 16 16 19 7 4 7 16 15 2 15 9
n 11 6 17 15 5 2 17 13 17 8 8 10 16 2 13 6 3 9 13 4 11 19 6 17 18 7
o 20 13 6 3 1 20 4 7 2 12 19 9 19 2 4 2 16 4 1 10 18 15 15 14 7 2
p 19 19 20 3 4 6 14 18 11 1 19 3 9 7 10 14 13 14 12 17 7 4 3 2 6 15
q 12 20 7 15 17 20 20 2 12 20 13 11 19 14 16 12 9 17 7 4 8 10 19 5 13 4
r 8 2 9 14 13 2 18 19 20 18 19 10 14 11 5 7 20 14 5 1 12 11 9 19 2 9
s 17 1 10 4 5 18 5 13 16 15 2 17 9 18 14 12 18 9 4 8 11 9 3 6 17 16
t 3 5 7 7 3 13 5 14 19 3 16 15 16 9 16 1 1 17 18 8 11 17 18 16 4 18
u 12 5 6 17 20 16 15 6 19 5 8 5 9 14 8 7 10 2 5 14 12 16 15 8 14 5
v 17 16 19 4 12 10 2 16 5 13 12 17 2 7 16 15 8 11 18 10 17 4 2 7 11 4
w 5 11 8 20 7 13 18 17 20 20 20 11 5 13 12 4 5 13 12 10 11 17 1 11 13 12
x 3 10 12 10 10 2 9 13 13 3 1 12 2 14 1 14 15 12 6 19 7 18 14 6 13 12
y 13 6 13 8 15 19 9 17 13 7 12 3 18 10 20 6 4 14 14 12 4 8 16 4 16 12
z 16 18 11 12 6 7 2 15 8 5 20 13 4 16 10 9 18 9 7 17 11 5 19 13 19 19
Being a gamer myself motivated me to actually solve this problem neatly. Make PDFs and get them into distribution.