Missouri’s most violent criminals can no longer play video games that simulate murders, carjackings, and the killing of police officers, says the Associated Press, quoting the Kansas City Star. “We didn’t closely review these,” Dave Dormire, superintendent of the Jefferson City Correctional Center, told the Star. “We were told these games had more like cartoon violence.” The state’s new maximum-security prison pulled dozens of violent Sony PlayStation 2 games from its recreation center fter officials were alerted to their content by a reporter. Inmates had been using them for months. The prison’s PlayStation offerings included one of the most violent games on the market, “Hitman: Contracts,” in which players use everything from meat hooks to silencer-equipped pistols to carry out brutal contract killings. Allowing inmates to play video games “has a good effect on helping us run the prison and make sure they’re busy and not trying to work on ways to escape or harm others,” Dormire said.
Jacqueline Helfgott, a professor at Seattle University who has studied the effects of violent movies and video games on criminal behavior, said such media can have a negative effect on inmates. “You get people in a maximum-security prison who have already gone over the line,” she said. “They’re not afraid to engage in violence, unlike the nerd sitting in front of his computer.” Jim Houston, a professor of criminal justice at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., said, “These kinds of games reinforce a criminal lifestyle that caused them to get into prison in the first place.”