Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/25/videogame_directive_prison_service/

Gov pulls plug on prison PlayStations

'No videogames unless you earn it, 655321'

By James Sherwood

Posted in Government, 25th July 2008 14:11 GMT

Blighty’s cons soon really will be doing hard time. Because the Prison Service has issued a directive banning 18 certificate videogames from prisons, and has also pledged to reform console use inside jails.

By 30 September this year, prisons in England and Wales must remove all videogames with an 18 certificate. This’ll be bad news for banged-up cons with a penchant for, say, Grand Theft Auto: IV.

The Prison Service has also decided that only prisoners that have reached the "enhanced" level on its Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme should have access to games consoles.

Potentially this means that the 80 PlayStation 3s and 15 Xbox 360s bought by the government last year for young offender institutions could soon be gathering dust.

However, if your cellmate’s on suicide-watch then a games console could soon be winging its way directly to them. A Prison Service spokesman told the BBC that: “Prisoners who are being managed under suicide prevention measures will be allowed access to a games console to occupy them while they are vulnerable”.

The good news is that Joe Public won’t have to fund cons’ gaming sessions anymore. The spokesman added that each prisoner must have to meet the cost of consoles and videogames themselves, once they’ve earned the right, of course.