It appears the government has finally cottoned on to the fact that prison is considered a little bit cushy, and will ban those locked up from playing computer games – unless they are a suicide risk or have earned the privilege.

Over-18 games have been banned from prisons entirely and gaming has been resticted to those who are at the top level of the Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme or, bizarrely, those who are considered a suicide risk.

Prison Service Instruction Number 32/2008 states: "In the adult (18 and over) estate access is to be restricted to those prisoners on the enhanced level of the IEP scheme only. In addition, no 18-rated console games are to be permitted. Governors must ensure that action to implement these changes is completed by 30 September 2008."

Immediate effect

"With immediate effect, governors must ensure that all games consoles and console games are purchased at prisoners' own expense. No public funds must be used by establishments to purchase games consoles and equipment."

An image of Soham murderer Ian Huntley with a PlayStation in his cell sparked controversy earlier in the year, and the furore appears to have forced changes.

"These changes will ensure that prisoners may only earn access to games consoles by a positive demonstration of good behaviour and commitment to the requirements of their sentence plan," adds the report.