Riker's Island Inmates Kept Busy With Off-Brand Game Consoles

Published: June 10, 2020 3:01 PM /


NYC Inmates off-brand Game Boy cover

Riker's Island inmates in New York City have been reportedly given off-brand Game Boy-style consoles in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The NY Daily News reports that New York City has spent at least $82,500 purchasing 5,500 of the portable gaming consoles at $15 each. The devices appear similar to products like this one on Amazon.

Superficially, the off-brand gaming consoles given to Riker's Island inmates look like old-school Game Boys. The contents of these consoles, however, are another story entirely: they are typically loaded up with dozens (if not hundreds) of video games, some of which may be infringing on copyrights.

Riker's Island Inmates off-brand Game Boy slice

Why Did Riker's Island Inmates Receive Off-Brand Game Consoles?

Why are prison inmates being given game consoles of all things? As strange as it might sound, this is all happening due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prisoner visitations (and many other social activities) were completely halted as a result of the pandemic. That isn't exactly good for morale in a prison; as such, it seems that New York City decided to pick these devices up as a way to keep inmates occupied in lieu of them being able to see their families and friends through visitations.

Understandably, some people are not happy about the concession.

"They are giving to inmates a Toys R Us on Rikers," a former Corrections employee said to the NY Daily News. "What’s next? PS4s?"

Supplying Riker's Island inmates with these game consoles may be regarded as a curious move, especially since there have been allegations by the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association that the government is not supplying them with adequate personal protective equipment. The NY Department of Correction, for its part, maintains that it has been adquately supplying both prison employees and inmates with the equipment that they need.

Read more about how the COVID-19 novel coronavirus is affecting the gaming world at our Coronavirus Gaming Convention Cancellations and Game Delays Hub.

Disclosure: Amazon works with TechRaptor for affiliate partnership, and TechRaptor earns a small commission off purchases made from some links in this article.

What do you think of Riker's Island inmates getting off-brand Game Boys to keep them busy? Do you think this is a good move? Let us know in the comments below!

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A photograph of TechRaptor Senior Writer Robert N. Adams.
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One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N