Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt has banned video games from state prisons, a month after a report that some of the most violent inmates were allowed to play games simulating murders, carjackings, and the killings of police officers. Blunt called video games “a luxury that inmates should not be allowed to enjoy.” The ban applies to all video games – violent or not. The Department of Corrections removed 35 violent video games from a maximum security prison as The Kansas City Star prepared to publish a story about them last month. The games, which were paid for with profits from the prison canteen, included titles like “Hitman: Contracts,” in which players use everything from meat hooks to silencer-equipped pistols to carry out contract killings.
Twelve of Missouri’s 21 correctional facilities have video games in their inmate recreational centers. Dave Dormire, superintendent of the Jefferson City Correctional Center, defended nonviolent video games last month as a useful tool for keeping prisoners occupied and out of trouble. Blunt said video games should not be permitted simply as a way to keep inmates busy. “That kind of writes them off,” he said. “It’s a correctional institution designed to ensure that they understand they’ve committed a wrong act against society and they’re being punished for that. Blunt quoted the American Correctional Association as saying that only two other states allow video games in prison.