U.K. Prof: Youthful Offenders Have Access to Violent Games in Juvenile Lockups

A Liverpool University Professor told a committe of Parliament that violent young offenders have access to violent video games and movies within U.K. detention facilities.

As reported by the Fleetwood Weekly News, Professor Kevin Browne made his remarks to the Home Affairs Committee:

If you go into local authority secure units or young offender institutions you will find that they are able to borrow from the library DVDs and computer games that are completely inappropriate given that they have been convicted of a violent offence.

They could borrow films like Rambo and violent video games like Carmageddon despite the fact that we recognise they are some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Browne blamed the problem on "laxity" by corrections officials said that violence caused by video games should be considered a public health issue.

GP: The Home Affairs Committee is chaired by Labour MP Keith Vaz, a longtime critic of violent video games. On the committee’s website, Vaz explains Prof. Browne’s March 20th appearance:

Throughout our inquiry we have tried to explore the reasons why  young people carry and use weapons. Several witnesses have suggested that exposure to violent entertainment such as films or video games may trigger violent behaviour.  We are therefore pleased to take more detailed evidence from Professor Kevin Browne on research in this area.


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  1. CyberSkull says:

    Simple solution: Have the librarians follow the ratings on the box, and limit it to the OK for everyone titles. 

  2. Doom90885 says:

    From someone who works in a federal priosn, its all a joke! And we wonder why 3/4 of them are brought back and our crime rate is so high. Granted I work in a low security prison but COME ON My training in boot camp was harder than this. These punks in juvie shouldn’t get squat they have that freedom of choice to break the law and hey did and they need to be treated no differnt than any adult. They should get 3 hots and a cot nothing more.





    For those who oppose and view video games as murder simulators…When are you going to FINALLY oppose and view firearms as murder weapons?!?!

  3. State says:

    Kids go to these places to be punished, not to have a fun time. So what if they get bored? Because you know what? They had freedom of choice not to commit crimes. Do not give them any games at all, they are serving punishment.

  4. Yellowchposticks says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about video games in juvie.  On one hand, they’re getting their violence fix, which isnt good, but at least it’s not turning them into hardened (physically) criminals.  It’d be like taking away exercise equipment in adult jails.  Turn those hardened criminals into soft pudgy couch potato criminals.

  5. Stealthguy says:

    As opposed to those who f-ed up and get the cool things they’d only get illegally otherwise?

    Lovely rehibilation system ya got thar

  6. Monte says:

    well for most of the types that end up in those places, books are not nearly as entertaining… not to mention that books tend to provide more thought than other mediums… sure movies and games can do the same, but you can easily assume that those are NOT the kind of movies and games they will want to watch/play

    it’s not like movies and video games are the only mental stimulation they can be given… really, places like that should remind them that this is what happens when you break the rules and laws…loss of freedom, loss of real entertainment and so forth… you want freedom and entertainment you straighten up and start flying right


    though if you did want to provide them with movies and games, why not limit their selection to stuff that will do better to stimulate them in a positive way, or maybe even teach them something, instead of stuff that could be called "mindless entertainment"… it is afterall supposed to be a correctional facility

  7. DarkSaber says:

    Those who abide by the rules are rewarded with the right to reward themselves at their own expense. Aint consumerism great?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  8. NovaBlack says:

    When its a game that costs 50p fair enough.


    Its when you hear stories (especially recently) about offenders having access to dvd players, wiis and 360s that gets me annoyed.

    Whilst there are regular hard working citizens that abide by the law, who CANT afford a wii, or 360 or games etc, then THEY should be given the games etc first. Simple as. Reward those who abide by the rules, not those who dont.

  9. Arell says:

    They have to be given some form of mental stimulation, they can’t just be expected to stare at the walls all day.  How is a movie or a game much different than a book?

  10. Magic says:

    It damn well should, but then we get into some ridiculous human rights-based argument about helping offenders since punishing them somehow makes things worse.

    There was an incident maybe ten years ago where youth offenders were given holidays in a bid to stop them re-offending. I’m deadly serious. In fact, a quick google has results:


    It’s even worse than I remember.

  11. NovaBlack says:

    Um.. why the particular emphasis on ‘violent’ games and movies.

    Offenders having access to ANY games and movies should cause outrage.

  12. Arell says:

    Actually, it probably doesn’t make sense to give violent offenders access to violent media.  Of course, we here at gamepolitics know that violent games don’t make normal peope into violent criminals.  The research supports this.  But the research also supports that those predispositioned to violence are attracted to violent media, and may even be influenced by it.

    We’re constantly on edge here, waiting for someone to blame video games for everything.  But we have to be open to the fact that they do influence SOME people.  Juvinile halls are probably not the best places for GTA and Far Cry, as they’re chock full of kids already prone to violence.  Give them Wii Sports, Skate 2, or Mirror’s Edge.  Although, I’d get a kick out of the throught of a bunch of thugs playing Cooking Mama.

  13. GoodRobotUs says:

    Whilst I certainl don’t hold with the idea of prisoners having access to games, it’s nothing to do with violence, and I take offence at the claims that there is ‘evidence’ of a link between the two when there is none, that is faux science at it’s best, jumping from ‘influence’ to ‘is the cause of violence in’, I’m not impressed with the good Professors’ leaps of logic in that department.

    My problem with it is that it’s supposed to be a jail, maybe if people didn’t get to play video games and things whilst serving a custodial sentence, they’d be a little less inclined to go there again?

  14. gamadaya says:

    God forbid that these innocent prisoners have their young minds corrupted so.


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  15. ShadowDragon28 says:

    We are therefore pleased to take more detailed evidence from Professor Kevin Browne on research in this area.

    Of course you are, seeing that this is exactly what you want to hear.

  16. insanejedi says:

    Yes because in Juvenile Hall you can drive a car and run people over just like in the game. And did you know that Carmmergeddon is an over decade old game?

    Still, I’m of the opinion that these are detention facilities, not like Magic said, leisure centers.

  17. Magic says:

    Looks like detention facilities are still like leisure centres

    "Several witnesses have suggested that exposure to violent entertainment such as films or video games may trigger violent behaviour."
    There it is, the usual theory. They’re looking for a specific ‘trigger’ so they can go: "AHA! There it is! ‘X’ is the cause! Remove ‘X’ and you have no problem! Huzzah!", as if videogames are the single, direct cause of violent behaviour.

  18. DCOW says:

    they’d be spot on too, you know, if it wasn’t the violent entertainment like Mr Vaz is always trying to claim

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