Why? Because it supposedly leads to gang behavior and might encourage escapism. The catch is that there is absolutely no evidence that it leads to gang behavior in this prison or in any other prison, or anywhere in the world. The judgment is based on the lowest level of justification possible which is that the rule be "rationally related" to a legitimate goal of prison administration. Basically all the prison warden had to do was give a reason, any reason, whether that reason was remotely connected to, you know, reality doesn't matter.
The best thing is that the second reason "it encourages escapism" directly contradicts the first. So basically these prisoners are simultaneously getting more organized and aggressive while also retreating into an intellectual cocoon. Makes a lot of sense. Don't novels and movies also encourage escapism? Doesn't being locked in a cell with four gray walls day and night for months on end encourage escapism?
The ONLY evidence the prison officials submitted for their rationale on the gang connection was the affidavit of a Captain Muraski:
Muraski explained that the policy was intended to promote prison security because cooperative games can mimic the organization of gangs and lead to the actual development thereof. Muraski elaborated that during D&D games, one player is denoted the “Dungeon Master.” The Dungeon Master is tasked with giving directions to other players, which Muraski testified mimics the organization of a gang.This is just so asinine that I am actually foaming at the mouth. My computer screen has given me rabies.
This whole thing makes me want to go found a prison ministry in Wisconsin where we teach inmates to play GURPS, World of Darkness, Burning Wheel, Spirit of the Century, Call of Cthulhu and so on forcing them to ban each one in succession. And THEN I will teach the inmates to play a completely diceless improvisational RPG they don't need books or materials for and watch the prison officials eyes pop out of their skulls in frustration.