PA Alpha 29: Considerations

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Tristano
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PA Alpha 29: Considerations

Postby Tristano » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:25 pm

Well done with Alpha 29! Interesting features, especially "spirituality need", "parole" and library.

A FEW CONSIDERATIONS ON SPIRITUALITY NEEDS

The first thing that came to my mind after watching the Alpha 29 realease video, regarding the bit explaining tha chapel is meant to be for al confessions ... Well, then why not call it TEMPLE? it's short enough to fit the room description, and to my understanding it's a word that most (if not all) religiouns could agree upon--Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists alike wouldn't object to having their place of worship called "temple". As a fact, in many occasions they do use the word "temple."

One other thing that came immediately to my mind was that the CHAPEL room shouldn't be allowed to be deployed as MEDIUM/MAX/NORMAL/ECC-SECURITY only. In real-life prisons this doesn't happen, which makes chapels an interesting place for prisoners.

Usually all prisons are organized so that certain inmates are not allowed to meet other inmates--for example, inmates that have been fighting, or an inmate that snitched on someone is not meant to be in the same block with him, as well as partners in crime are usually kept seperately at least until the court case is over. Also, rival gangs or criminal families are kept separate by means of such "no-meeting" lists. The exception is, of course, the chapel!

For example, Christmas Mass is a major event in prisons: all no-meeting restrictions are set aside in virtue of the right to profess religion, so Christimas Mass is the only occasion in which even big bosses in isolation are seen by other inmates. This means that security is very high during Mass, and usually the chapel is split into two or more zones. As a non-written rule, Christmas mass is not exploited for acts of revenge, that would be unacceptable by prison inmates rules.

Surely, a video game is not meant to reproduce reality in every detail, but simply model it into some formal paradigm that makes it playable and manageble. But this issue of the religious temple not being discriminated by the usual prison-regulation rules does make sense both in real life as in game terms--at least, it does in my opinion. On the one hand, it poses a challenge for the player who has to compromise with the fulfillment of a basic right and at the same time preserve security. This could mean building a Chapel in a secure way .... maybe the room could be split into separate areas (custody protection at one side, max sec. at another, ecc), but the room as a whole should be one.

Of course, it's just a consideration. But I brought it up also because it highlits the issue of the "no-meeting" lists, which is a key feature of any prison, at present not implement in PA--and, possibly it might be difficoult to implement even in the future. Though, it does tickle me the though that prisoner after a fight should be kept in separate blocks. I am not sure how the dinamics of fights and riots are in detail in PA, wether they occur because of history among certain prisoners or out of pseudo-random circumstances (ie: just being in the wrong company at the wrong time) and if they create a bond of lasting rivalry betweens specific prisoners.

So ... it's official now: PA is going to go Final within 2015! Great news. Which brings the issue of feautures we'd love to see implemented.

POSTAL SYSTEM?

I recently came across a PA mod that introduces a postal system in the prison. I think that this was a great idea. After all, what are the most precious things for inmates? Family visitations and letters! postal system also includes parcels and mail orders.

Every country handles prisons differently. My prison life experience (in Italy) was that the standard way letters where colleted was through inmates that before dinner time go around picking letters hanged on the cell-door. We didn't have anything like a mail box at all. Deliveries were handled only by guards, again cell-by-cell. Each letter was opened in front of the inmate, but contents COULD NOT be read (the issue came up on the video of Alpha 28/29), but other objects in the envelope were inspected (photos, ecc.). Parcels where handled at a different location, because many non-permitted items would be taken away and put on the shelf. That was the "inmates storage room", where all confiscated personal objects would be boxed and shelved.

INMATES MONEY/ACCOUNTS

Another issue not touched in PA is INMATES MONEY. Prisons don't allow inmates to handle cash, instead they have prison-accounts which they can rely on to buy what they need through the internal shopping service. In Italian prisons we don't have canteens as a norm, prisoners eat in their cells. There are few exceptions though. The shopping is handled in the usual system of cell-by-cell: an inmate goes round and get the orders twice a week, and twice a week he goes round delivering the ordered goods (cigarettes, coffee, whatever).

Being no cash at hand, the prison currency usually consists of postal stamps and cigarettes. Prison rules forbid inmates from having high value stashes of stamps and cigarettes, and if they are found during a cell search seizure and punishment follow, usually with charges of smuggling, gambling, or drug pushing (depending on the stashed value found).

The prison system has a great deal of work in handling the inmates money accounts, and it also creates some side-business. If a prisoner deposits huge amounts of money in his account (like a milion euros) he is most likely to get home-arrests or parole, because if he then escapes he loosed the money (which I guess is a silent bargain more than often). Also, these accounts are needed for the salaries of working inmates. In Italy they are just post-office accounts, so the postal service handles at once mail and money for the whole prison (the postal service used to be state-owned till recently).

I am writing freely, conscious that much of this couldn't be implemented in PA, but I thought that sharing some thoughts and consideration of real-life prisons from other countries might be of interest for the PA developers and community. PA is a great game, it's fun and challenging, and it also has a good grounding in prison-reality. Even though not every aspect of prison life is covered, the general feeling is there, and quite solidly built also.

SUPER-MAX: NETTED YARDS

A few final consideration on super-max: usually super-max yards are covered with metal net to avoid elicopter-escapes. In france elicopter escapes have been quite common in the past: the would hijack and elicopter and rescue with a rope their accomplishes. So, generally speaking, a prerequisite for Super-Max prison blocks is that the yard is "netted" on top.

SUPER-MAX: VISITATION BEHYND GLASS

Another issue has to do with visitors: usually Super-Max inmates can't sit at the table with visitors, instead they are separated by a glass and speak via a phone handset. That would be another super-max prerequisite for visitations room.

Last thing, still on visitors subject: I was surprised that visitors actually move around the prison while heading for visitation room. That doesn't make much sense, especially when there are special staff-only routes available. It just is hard to figure a whole group of civilians, women and children included, crossing prison blocks, super max areas and yards, just to get to the visitations room.

I'm really looking foward to Alpha 30!

best regards
SonofSuperJoe
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Re: PA Alpha 29: Considerations

Postby SonofSuperJoe » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:56 pm

I've mentioned before that a Commissary Room would work as both a Post office solution and a way to bring in a Prisoner Currency/Economy over here - viewtopic.php?f=43&t=18466#p582970

It's the one room that serves two needs!

As for the Chapel naming - this game is based off of American Prisons as I understand it, and here in the US, the non-denominational name for religious services is usually "Chapel" not "Temple". Temple is more associated with Judaism here than it is non-denominational, but then, the US is a pretty Christian nation, so that's probably a factor. Similarly, in the US Military, servicemen who act as religious support are called "Chaplains", and they too are often required to be able to provide religious services for people of many faiths.

So, I'm pretty sure that's a US cultural naming convention there.
Roy974
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Re: PA Alpha 29: Considerations

Postby Roy974 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:38 pm

Also in the UK the word chapel is used in hospitals, Christians use the word cathedral or church not temple although some people have referenced places of worship as temples. Personally chapel I feel is not going to offend anyone and fits the prison more than the word temple would since prisons also use the word chapel not temple.
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Re: PA Alpha 29: Considerations

Postby rsdworker » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:05 am

in one hopstial chapel - there is normal chairs - some hopstials have big chapel with pews and space for bed trolleys also prayer mats but those wasn't seen in my local hopstial but possibly behind closed screen doors
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Re: PA Alpha 29: Considerations

Postby zbyrne » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:05 am

On the business of not being able to limit access to different levels of prisoners, I love the idea in theory, however I can see an easy exploit of simply building multiple chapels and surrounding it with areas of a certain designation. The only way to prevent that "exploit" (if that is the most appropriate word) would be to ensure certain rooms (such as the Chapel) were limited in number, which might add a challenge, but might not be the way to take the game.

Certainly something to consider, but it's the only way to ensure non-designatable rooms could work, and they are a very interesting idea for sure.
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Re: PA Alpha 29: Considerations

Postby Inge Jones » Sun Feb 01, 2015 9:54 am

rsdworker wrote:in one hopstial chapel - there is normal chairs - some hopstials have big chapel with pews and space for bed trolleys also prayer mats but those wasn't seen in my local hopstial but possibly behind closed screen doors


I think in real life each Muslim has their own personal prayer mat and brings it with them to pray.
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Re: PA Alpha 29: Considerations

Postby Tristano » Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:23 am

SonofSuperJoe wrote:As for the Chapel naming - this game is based off of American Prisons as I understand it, and here in the US, the non-denominational name for religious services is usually "Chapel" not "Temple". Temple is more associated with Judaism here than it is non-denominational, but then, the US is a pretty Christian nation, so that's probably a factor. Similarly, in the US Military, servicemen who act as religious support are called "Chaplains", and they too are often required to be able to provide religious services for people of many faiths.

So, I'm pretty sure that's a US cultural naming convention there.


I would have though that Introversion, being UK based, would be more oriented toward an English (ie: non US-English) choice of terms. But you did bring up an issue in fact. I've seen a PA mod that makes the game "more english"--meaning, it tweaks terminology and graphics to suit a more "classical-English" style. Possibly (ideally) the game should be in a kind of "neutral" English, wherever this is possible, but as you brought up in your reply, there is a feeling of US cultural influence to the game.

I am writing from Italy--so, from a USA point of view I'd be "in Europe", while from a UK point of view I'd be "in the continent". We have the Vatican in Italy, so "multifaith" issues are quite a hot topic here, but the egemony of Chatolocism is quite strong (culture- and media-wise). My impression is that in the UK there is a strong sensibility on the issue of faiths--especially when it comes to public schools, government grants, ecc. The USA has indeed a strong Christian identity (I'd say more than Italy has).

I think that the approach of a common place of worship for different religious groups is something you find only in the USA--at least, here in Europe it simply wouldn't work; it might even be considered offensive by many. I remember an Italian prison which had a "mosque" in it. It boiled down to the old library (which no one really used) being converted to a mosque for friday prayers and special muslim holidays. Possibly it was the only prison with a mosque, at least that I've heard of. It was instituted by request of the local city muslim community. It was just a bare room, but it fitted the minimum requirements for an islamic congreation prayer: no statues or religious "idles", no crosses. I believe that also jews would object religious rituals in rooms which display crosses or religious statues (christian, buddhist, ecc.). Of course, the USA is again an exception because the biggest jewish community in the US is reformist--something which you won't find in Europe. In Italy, for example, reformist judaism is not recognized as a religion, and for any requests (places of worship, permissions,ecc) they'd have to go through the established jewish community.

Whatever positions and views one might hold on such questions, there is no denying that the issue at stake is quite "hot" for many.

yes, I agree: the word "temple" does bring to mind judaism at first, but I wouldn't say it is exclusively associated with it. This is because of the famous two Temples, which are not synonims of synanogue in any way, and they have capital T. "Chapel" is a srictly Christian term. In Italian we use the wording "place of worship" when we want to speak in general terms, and in official prison-language the terms used are "minister of faith" for any religious figure that comes from outside to preach in the prison.

At the end of the day we have to accept that there are some cultural expectations. In Italy the "norm" would be Chatolicism, so every prison has a church. Now that the muslim population is growing, the government is starting to provide logistic support for muslim prisoners also--the main issue being FOOD, by the way. Judaism has a very long history in Italy, dating back to Roman's time (whit local long-term settlements), yet today it is not a huge community, and surely it doesn't have a big prison-population. So in prison it would be treated like other smaller religious groups which don't build up a constant prison-population sufficient to justify a permanent place of worship.

I guess that PA will have to remain broad and general on the issue--unless it's developers are going to associate each single prisoner with a specific faith, which doesn't make much sense in terms of gameplay.

Still .... "Chapel" is really Christian, so in my opinion if the term Chapel is to be kept, it would be more consistent to just make it a church and have the player imagine it ment to intend a "generic" place of worship---rather then declaring it "universal" but then characterize it with strong Christian icons. What goes for American might not be go so well for Europeans or other nations.

Maybe it would all together be better to provide icons of a non-defined religion---some generic "cult of worship", a "templ" with an "altar" and a "religious officer/minister". In other words, to keep it very generic, providing the idea of spiritual need as a broad need, without giving it connations. It already happens with food in PA: there isn't a great deal of specification of which food it is, it's just there to fulfill the need of nutrition as an idea and function! ... [ the Alpha 29 video does mention "bacon" though! :lol: what are we going to do about it when it comes to muslims or jews, who don't eat pork?! :shock:

Thanks for the reply!
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Re: PA Alpha 29: Considerations

Postby CumpyLustard » Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:19 pm

Tristano wrote:SUPER-MAX: VISITATION BEHYND GLASS

Another issue has to do with visitors: usually Super-Max inmates can't sit at the table with visitors, instead they are separated by a glass and speak via a phone handset. That would be another super-max prerequisite for visitations room.


I might be wrong, but I believe that there were glass visitation booths found in the files a while ago. I agree that I would like to have them actually in the game.
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Re: PA Alpha 29: Considerations

Postby CJH » Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:33 pm

Leave it called chapel!

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