By Christine Lavelle
PRISON bosses in Scotland have refused to ban violent films and video games despite being given the green light from human rights activists.
In England, inmates are not allowed to play certificate 18 murder simulators because of fears that they will fuel aggression.
And some prisons have banned X-rated adult movies.
However, the Scottish Prison Service has repeatedly rejected calls to carry out similar bans north of the border, claiming it would breach prisoners’ human rights.
Many prison libraries – which house murderers and paedophiles – are stocked with DVDs featuring violent crimes and sexual deviance.
One game, Manhunt, allows the user to gain points by killing people, and the video-library includes Saw, Asylum Erotica, and Caligula, which was banned 30 years ago for its graphic incest scenes.
An official at the SPS said they cannot ban inmates from having certificate 18 games if they are old enough.
John Scott, former chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Centre, said: “This is wrong.
“There is no human right to entertainment.
“The authorities may think this breaches the right to a private life but in prison there are always going to be certain things that are restricted.
“I don’t see how a prisoner could argue they should be entitled to watch a violent or sexually explicit film.
“There should be resources for prisoners to facilitate rehabilitation but violent films and video games have no part to play in that.”
Links with violent crimes
Every cell in Scotland’s prisons has a television, and two thirds are believed to have DVD players, while others are equipped with games consoles like Nintendo Wiis and Xboxes.
Inmates have access to up to 4,000 DVDs, and with no central record of video games it is feared that hundreds of violent titles are in circulation.
Luke Mitchell, convicted of killing Jodi Jones, was believed to be ‘addicted’ to Grand Theft Auto, a game described as a “virtual reality murder simulator.”
Richard Baker, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, said: “These films are not suitable for violent or sexual offenders.
“John Scott is an expert on these matters and it’s significant he’s saying there’s no legal impediment to a ban.
“This suggests the SPS has not tested the issue properly.
“I’d like to know what legal advice they have received.”
An SPS spokesman said: “These titles are freely available in the community so what basis would we have for not allowing people to see them?
“There are no plans for a blanket ban.
“We will leave it to individual prison governors to decide.”