Does $500 a day give prisoners the right to unleash their inner geek?

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Alexander Maconochie CentreThe ABC is today reporting the news that prisoners at the Alexander Maconochie Centre cost taxpayers $500 a day in incarceration costs. That’s nearly double the price when we outsourced cells from NSW before the AMC opened in 2008.

Also today, The Canberra Times reports that the prisoners have limited internet access – much more limited since a security breach that saw their whole system shut down last week for an audit. How much does online security for prisoners cost? Do they have Wifi? Bluetooth?

If the ACT’s prisoners think they’ve got it rough they should look to their brothers Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, USA. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has rejected a lawsuit challenging the institution’s right to ban the nerdiest of all nerd games – Dungeons and Dragons.

The New York Times said:

The court, which is based in Chicago, acknowledged that there was no evidence of marauding gangs spurred to their acts of destruction by swinging imaginary mauls, but it ruled nonetheless that the prison’s decision was “rationally related” to legitimate goals of prison administration.

Yessir, the fear that D & D could encourage gang behaviour and escape attempts may be unfounded, but that doesn’t matter.

Question: is the right to unleash your inner geek protected by The ACT Human Rights Act 2004?

Watch out inmates, today the internet, tomorrow, your bag of dice.

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  1. "but it ruled nonetheless that the prison’s decision was "rationally related" to legitimate goals of prison administration"
    This suggests to me that the prison administration had motives other than discouraging violence for their ban. There may have been concerns that prisoners would waste time that could be spent more valuably elsewhere. Perhaps on educational activites that may improve their life skills and ability to live outside of the gaol system.

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