The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections purchased eight PlayStation 4 Custom Sport Bundles from Fully Loaded Electronics to use in their activities department. The goal? Create an incentive-based program using the gaming devices to promote positive behavior among the inmates.
The positive impacts that gaming provides to inmates.
With the PlayStation purchase, the PA DOC was looking to create a program that promoted good behavior, reduced inmate stress, and allowed positive and controlled competition among the inmates. Behavior incentive programs use positive reinforcement (the ability to earn or purchase a gaming device) to teach and reward good behavior. Incentive programs only work when the incentive is something the participant cares about and is willing to work, and it appears that the PA DOC hit the nail on the head.
According to DH from the PA DOC, “Using the PS4 as an incentive-based program, we have found that it encourages positive behavior and is an excellent way for the inmates to reduce stress and enjoy positive competition. Winning and losing games offers a therapeutic counseling opportunity that can benefit inmates for reintegration into their community.”
The positive impact goes beyond healthy competition. Playing video games has also been linked to an increase in brain’s grey matter, problem solving skills, mental health boosts, persistence and patience. For prisons, delayed - but realized - gratification is the reason why a behavior incentive program using gaming devices can be so impactful. The inmate can see the reward and knows the exact steps needed in order to earn the device. The gratification is not immediate but can be realized while still incarcerated. And the incentive doesn’t stop once the device is in hand. Additional games or applications can be added as the desired behavior becomes more and more habitual for the inmate. Setting and achieving a goal while incarcerated can have long lasting impacts on self-confidence and self-reliance both of which will help an inmate succeed outside of the prison walls.
By encouraging personal responsibility with meaningful incentives correctional facilities, like the PA DOC, will help create habits and behaviors that are rewarded both in and out of the prison system.
By purchasing the systems from a professional services company like Fully Loaded Electronics, the PA DOC was able to sidestep some of the potential headaches that come with gaming devices. The devices come fully loaded with appropriate and approved games – meaning no cartridges or downloads are needed to play the games. If the device has WiFi capabilities, Fully Loaded Electronics removes the capabilities completely to block unwanted connections. And if technical support is needed, Fully Loaded’s comprehensive solutions cover that as well.
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