Filmmaker Elisabeth de Kleer is currently raising funds through Kickstarter in order to complete her fascinating documentary “Let’s Play: Dungeons & Dragons Behind Bars”, which tells the story of the prisoners who fought in court with varying results for their right to engage in the therapeutic and rehabilitative activity of role-playing games. The film is told, primarily, through the eyes of the prisoners who fought this good fight.
LET’S PLAY tells the little-known stories of inmates and former inmates who go to great lengths to play tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons behind bars. They handcraft twenty-sided dice, build their own campaigns from scratch, even wage legal battles against the United States prison system to assert their right to play. LET’S PLAY is told primarily from the perspective of inmates who have waged legal battles for the right to engage in gaming rehab. Some lost; others–like Kevin–changed the system forever.
Also involved in this incredible documentary is the Prisoner Reentery Network, a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit and Eddie Codel, a talented filmmaker and a very good friend of Laughing Squid
In the US, where the notion of rehabilitation is a joke, role playing games offer a very real way for inmates to find focus, meaning and community in their lives which goes a long way to reducing recidivism. A goal everyone benefits from.
— Eddie Codel (@ekai) July 16, 2019
in 2017, the Vice series Waypoint also brought attention to this issue through a short video essay.