acceptable to prison management

Dec 29, 2020
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0
10
My son is in a very punitive Australian prison where prisoners sit around
all day and have no work, or other activities to fill their time. As a
result, levels of violence and drug use are extremely high. To combat this,
there is talk of an incentive scheme that would allow prisoners who behave
to earn the ability to make purchases that ease the pains of their
imprisonment. Games consoles are one of the most common incentives in
prisons around the world but we are having difficulty finding an
appropriate console to approve. The issues are: (a) the console cannot have
wireless internet capability, (b) it cannot have an accessible hard drive.
(c) it must be a console that will be available into the future (older
generation consoles such as the original Xbox or PlayStation 2 are no
longer in production and therefore not able to be reliably sourced).

Initially, this was thought to be simple but some issues have arisen that
are beyond the understanding of my son as he has no way to conduct
research. A number of prisons (such as those in the UK) permit a modified
Xbox One (modification completed by Gema Records) that has had the ports
sealed and hard drive made inaccessible but the information we have is that
games on the Xbox One require downloads and updates, unlike the old days
where a game can just be inserted into the machine.

An alternative approach was the Nintendo Switch lite which we thought would
be perfect if it could be supplied with the wireless/ bluetooth etc
hardware removed but we have since been told that this would prevent the
console from working as the Switch goes through a systems check on startup
and removing hardware would result in the Switch going into Safe Mode and
not being able to be used.

In short, my question is: Does anyone know how a modern console (one that
is still produced) could be made "prison safe" (no wireless, no hard drive
access). Do you have any ideas or suggestions on the best approach for
this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
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Exactly what is meant by "hard drive"? Do they not want anything that has permanent storage or is it something about the actual hard drive mechanisms that cause the ban?
 
Dec 17, 2020
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inaccessible hard drive or insides,,,, they dont want a "nice caring family" to load it with oh, a kilo of heroin and sending it in to their nice lovely family member serving time for a violent crime.
 
Dec 29, 2020
8
0
10
Exactly what is meant by "hard drive"? Do they not want anything that has permanent storage or is it something about the actual hard drive mechanisms that cause the ban?
I'm not 100% sure of the answer to this question but the prison doesn't
want inmates having the ability to store and access digital media like
music, videos and photos. That's the problem with a hard drive. there would
be no issue if the hard drive existed and only served the purpose of
facilitating the gameplay (saving checkpoints etc).

So it's not the existence of storage, but the ability of prisoners to
access it purposes other than gameplay...
 
Dec 17, 2020
89
10
35
Is there a rule on here about offering unhelpful comments?
explaining a reason for the prison system wanting something a certain is completely valid.

SURE they could use the accessible hard drive for sending naughty photos and criminal communications, but prisoners are far more interested in drugs. Thats why prisons have that unpleasant cavity search routine when prisons get shuffled around.
 

Alm

Jan 17, 2020
197
178
770
I had written a post about thinking the playstation classic might be acceptable. It's very cheap and not a great gaming experience so I deleted the post thinking it might have been unhelpful but if any gaming is better than nothing for the sanity it might be worth it.

From Googling it looks like it doesn't have WiFi but it does have expandable storage. Saying that, I would imagine that you couldn't use it to view external content unless it was hacked.

Just a suggestion.
 
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Nov 29, 2020
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OP no offense...but your post doesn't make much sense, at all. But i don't know if you'd like it or not. But i recommend you getting a Nintendo DS or a 3DS. Just put the game in and it works. You don't really require online on it either. I guess that's an good purchase?
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
1,354
1,741
4,570
So it's not the existence of storage, but the ability of prisoners to
access it purposes other than gameplay...
Rats, I was afraid of that. All PCs are going to have that and all the modern consoles, too, as far as I know. The days when they would play directly off a read-only disks are long gone. Even with no games at all, consoles need to be able to update themselves which requires a lot of read/write storage. I'm afraid you're going to be stuck in the Playstation 2 era for the time being.
 
Dec 29, 2020
8
0
10
My son is in a very punitive Australian prison where prisoners sit around
all day and have no work, or other activities to fill their time. As a
result, levels of violence and drug use are extremely high. To combat this,
there is talk of an incentive scheme that would allow prisoners who behave
to earn the ability to make purchases that ease the pains of their
imprisonment. Games consoles are one of the most common incentives in
prisons around the world but we are having difficulty finding an
appropriate console to approve. The issues are: (a) the console cannot have
wireless internet capability, (b) it cannot have an accessible hard drive.
(c) it must be a console that will be available into the future (older
generation consoles such as the original Xbox or PlayStation 2 are no
longer in production and therefore not able to be reliably sourced).

Initially, this was thought to be simple but some issues have arisen that
are beyond the understanding of my son as he has no way to conduct
research. A number of prisons (such as those in the UK) permit a modified
Xbox One (modification completed by Gema Records) that has had the ports
sealed and hard drive made inaccessible but the information we have is that
games on the Xbox One require downloads and updates, unlike the old days
where a game can just be inserted into the machine.

An alternative approach was the Nintendo Switch lite which we thought would
be perfect if it could be supplied with the wireless/ bluetooth etc
hardware removed but we have since been told that this would prevent the
console from working as the Switch goes through a systems check on startup
and removing hardware would result in the Switch going into Safe Mode and
not being able to be used.

In short, my question is: Does anyone know how a modern console (one that
is still produced) could be made "prison safe" (no wireless, no hard drive
access). Do you have any ideas or suggestions on the best approach for
this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the (mostly) helpful feedback. To those who made stupid
suggestions (such as a pho/ne with sna/ke), try not to forget that most
prisoners will be returning to the community so using evidence based
behaviour modification to prevent offending is important. Incentive
programs not only seek to make prison environments safer but help to instil
in prisoners that positive behaviours can yield positive outcomes. This is
a very important lesson, one that "rehabilitation" is based upon.

Please don't be confused if my responses don't match the comments or
suggestions, I was sent the replies from two separate f/orums without
knowing which was which so i'm replying to all of them here. I didn't get
all your user names so consider this a response to all those who wrote:

PS2 and original Xbox would be absolutely perfect to allow prisoners to buy
but the problem is that they are too hard to source in any significant
numbers. We need a console that meets specifications (no wi/fi and no
storage) but is attractive to prisoners (enough of an incentive to modify
behaviour). They also need to be able to be purchased well into the future
and older gen stuff is getting rarer and rarer as time goes on

The UK prison system permits a modified Xbox One and I couldn't work out
how they achieved this in the prison environment due to the requirement for
updates and down/loads. I'm now thinking that it is possible that these
consoles are available due to their reverse compatibility with Xbox and
Xbox 360 games which can just be played from the disc.

So, would it be possible for a supplier to render an Xbox One unable to be
connected to the internet and the hard drive inaccessible if the intention
was for that console to run older gen games only?

In relation to the PS classic, again they would be good and certainly
better than nothing (I had one growing up and loved a bit of Tekken 2 and
Crash Bandicoot after school). Do they still produce the ones that come pre
lo/aded with games? Again, the problem is that there needs to be a
consistent supply well into the future to make this work.

The Nintendo DS and 3DS sound good but are they still made? I was under the
impression some of these had some sort of wi/fi connectivity...possibly
blueto/oth (also not allowed).

The info about the patents on NES and Famicom having expired was
interesting. That explains why I'm hearing of cheap knock off consoles that
have games I thought were exclusive to particular consoles. I'd like to
understand this a bit better. 4000 games sounds great but it's no good if
it falls apart or is glitchy. Does anyone have any suggestions about which
is the best quality unit to purchase? Are there companies or consoles to
avoid? I did see that there were some links to consoles there (thanks) but
I am unable to access the in/ternet (other than pre approved emails) so
cannot use the links.

Just a comment about meeting the incentive program budget, there is no
chance of the prison purchasing recreational items for prisoners! The
prisoners who meet the behavioural criteria will be given the ability to
purchase from their own money that they have earned through working at the
prison.

And in regards to the comments about "prison safe" being attributed to the
ability for a console to be used as a wea/pon: No chance. There are enough
wea/pons lying about without utilising your only form of recreation to do
someone harm. I don't think there will be too many people who will behave
themselves, save for a console, wait weeks or months for it to arrive and
then hit someone with it. Mind you, we are prisoners and aren't here
because of our exemplary decision making capabilities so anything is
possible...

Thanks all
 
Dec 29, 2020
8
0
10
My son is in a very punitive Australian prison where prisoners sit around
all day and have no work, or other activities to fill their time. As a
result, levels of violence and drug use are extremely high. To combat this,
there is talk of an incentive scheme that would allow prisoners who behave
to earn the ability to make purchases that ease the pains of their
imprisonment. Games consoles are one of the most common incentives in
prisons around the world but we are having difficulty finding an
appropriate console to approve. The issues are: (a) the console cannot have
wireless internet capability, (b) it cannot have an accessible hard drive.
(c) it must be a console that will be available into the future (older
generation consoles such as the original Xbox or PlayStation 2 are no
longer in production and therefore not able to be reliably sourced).

Initially, this was thought to be simple but some issues have arisen that
are beyond the understanding of my son as he has no way to conduct
research. A number of prisons (such as those in the UK) permit a modified
Xbox One (modification completed by Gema Records) that has had the ports
sealed and hard drive made inaccessible but the information we have is that
games on the Xbox One require downloads and updates, unlike the old days
where a game can just be inserted into the machine.

An alternative approach was the Nintendo Switch lite which we thought would
be perfect if it could be supplied with the wireless/ bluetooth etc
hardware removed but we have since been told that this would prevent the
console from working as the Switch goes through a systems check on startup
and removing hardware would result in the Switch going into Safe Mode and
not being able to be used.

In short, my question is: Does anyone know how a modern console (one that
is still produced) could be made "prison safe" (no wireless, no hard drive
access). Do you have any ideas or suggestions on the best approach for
this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
the Anbernic RG350 and RG350m sounds interesting, i'll have to get someone
to do some research on that one for me. In regards to downlo/ads,
emula/tors and the such, it sounds a little complicated (remember we're
dealing with prison guar/ds here). what is needed is something that can be
purchased from a store (bricks and mortar or online) with some consistency.

Yes, i agree that there should be training and education available but it's
just not something the prison is receptive to. this proposal (for the
incentives) is only going to have a chance to get off the ground because it
makes the job of prison staff easier. Anything that adds to their workload
(education, training etc) is unlikely to be supported.

anyone who i haven't replied to, i apologise, the email system here has an
automated blocking process triggered by key words and some of the emails my
mother has sent me from the forum have not made it to me. She's going to go
through them and try and remove the words that might have triggered it so
don't think your input has been ignored, it's all helpful.
 

Lutfij

Moderator
Jan 2, 2020
318
184
1,070
Just a friendly reminder, that a moderator is keeping watch over this thread. Please note that being rude doesn't help anyone in any manner. Snarky remarks constitute as incivility which is why I'd ask people to keep on topic and not to deviate.

On that note, the topic in question is a sensitive matter and anything that can be made positive out of the situation, is beneficial for the community here and the outside world. So if you will, people, let's move forward.

Part of the PCGamer Moderation Team
Lutfij
 
Last edited:
Dec 7, 2020
4
3
15
Hi, sorry about your son and his desire to do something basically harmless, and having road blocks. Since my expertise is Windows operating systems, I'll stick to that. If the prison wants no storage space period, that rules out hard drives and flash drives. It doesn't rule out a PC with no storage drives, and only disc drive(s.) This could be a CD/DVD/Blu-ray. Obviously a "burner" would be unacceptable, but just a reader shouldn't be an issue.

Someone would have to put an operating system on the disc, and it should boot to that, with no issue. The worst case scenario would be the need to go into the BIOS, and make the disc drive the 1st boot device. If the prison accepts this idea, they would want to see if there is a wireless driver. This would NOT be put on to the disc, and in "Device Manager" you would see a yellow triangle on the internet related device(s.)

The prison could intentionally let Windows do a search for that device driver, which would not be found, if the job is kosher. Most likely, the warden would put his own signature on the accepted disc, and the rule would be that this is the only one allowed in the drive. If this is okay with the prison, a ton of games could be installed on the disc. They should allow multiple discs that have been verified, and if not, I'd suggest the giant size of a Blu-ray. (They are much more scratch resistant as well.)

The new PCs right now, usually don't have disc drives. You'd have to go back a few years, but there are plenty of used PCs out there, that would / could comply. As far as having a large variety of games goes, I think this is it.
 
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Dec 29, 2020
8
0
10
Hi, sorry about your son and his desire to do something basically harmless, and having road blocks. Since my expertise is Windows operating systems, I'll stick to that. If the prison wants no storage space period, that rules out hard drives and flash drives. It doesn't rule out a PC with no storage drives, and only disc drive(s.) This could be a CD/DVD/Blu-ray. Obviously a "burner" would be unacceptable, but just a reader shouldn't be an issue.

Someone would have to put an operating system on the disc, and it should boot to that, with no issue. The worst case scenario would be the need to go into the BIOS, and make the disc drive the 1st boot device. If the prison accepts this idea, they would want to see if there is a wireless driver. This would NOT be put on to the disc, and in "Device Manager" you would see a yellow triangle on the internet related device(s.)

The prison could intentionally let Windows do a search for that device driver, which would not be found, if the job is kosher. Most likely, the warden would put his own signature on the accepted disc, and the rule would be that this is the only one allowed in the drive. If this is okay with the prison, a ton of games could be installed on the disc. They should allow multiple discs that have been verified, and if not, I'd suggest the giant size of a Blu-ray. (They are much more scratch resistant as well.)

The new PCs right now, usually don't have disc drives. You'd have to go back a few years, but there are plenty of used PCs out there, that would / could comply. As far as having a large variety of games goes, I think this is it.
Thanks - I will pass this info on to my son.
 
Dec 29, 2020
8
0
10
Hi, sorry about your son and his desire to do something basically harmless, and having road blocks. Since my expertise is Windows operating systems, I'll stick to that. If the prison wants no storage space period, that rules out hard drives and flash drives. It doesn't rule out a PC with no storage drives, and only disc drive(s.) This could be a CD/DVD/Blu-ray. Obviously a "burner" would be unacceptable, but just a reader shouldn't be an issue.

Someone would have to put an operating system on the disc, and it should boot to that, with no issue. The worst case scenario would be the need to go into the BIOS, and make the disc drive the 1st boot device. If the prison accepts this idea, they would want to see if there is a wireless driver. This would NOT be put on to the disc, and in "Device Manager" you would see a yellow triangle on the internet related device(s.)

The prison could intentionally let Windows do a search for that device driver, which would not be found, if the job is kosher. Most likely, the warden would put his own signature on the accepted disc, and the rule would be that this is the only one allowed in the drive. If this is okay with the prison, a ton of games could be installed on the disc. They should allow multiple discs that have been verified, and if not, I'd suggest the giant size of a Blu-ray. (They are much more scratch resistant as well.)

The new PCs right now, usually don't have disc drives. You'd have to go back a few years, but there are plenty of used PCs out there, that would / could comply. As far as having a large variety of games goes, I think this is it.
Thanks for your input, I really appreciate you taking the time. I am going
to have a little think about everything that you've raised here, some
really good ideas...
 
Dec 7, 2020
4
3
15
No problem. It's the least I could do, under the circumstances. There are some programs, games included that demand drive C: to work. The disc drives would be D: and / or E: If there is any possible hurdle, this may end up being it. I'm certain that some games would not be a problem, but there may be a testing phase for whatever games are installed. The good thing is, that you would know very quickly, if the "other than C: drive" is an issue, for a particular game. The protocol may end up being to install the operating system, and the games to a C: drive. Then do a backup, and then reload the backup to a disc, setting it with the "bootable" parameter. I doubt that all backup utilities will do this, but I believe Norton Ghost will. Not 100% sure, because I've never run into something like this before. So you may have to research the backup utility, before trying this idea out.
 
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