Essay On Stanford Prison Experiment

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Stanford Prison Experiment The debate over prison systems in the United States has been a long controversy. The question as to; if stuffing a facility full with convicted criminals to be guarded by a flock of civilian employees will foster progress. But a main factor that contributes, is the line between guard and civilian. A guard, while trained, is not a military personal. The power given to them over the lives of others when they are simply a citizen is not normal for everyday citizens. This is one of the things Dr. Phillip Zimbardo wanted to test in his prison experiment at Stanford University, working on staff. Zimbardo created a mock prison in the basement, drawing psychologically fit young gentlemen to see what would happen. In a short…show more content…
They were all charged with armed robbery and burglary, told their legal rights, handcuffed, and shoved into a police to be taken to the police station. There the suspect went through the entire system. According to Zimbardo in his journal, they were booked, warned of their rights, finger-printed, identified, taken to a holding cell and blindfolded until they were transferred to the mock prison. There, each prisoner is brought in to be greeted by the warden one at a time. Being strip searched and then issued a uniform. The uniforms consisted of a dress, and heavy chain for the ankle, sandals, and stocking caps, each crucial to the emasculation and reality of the prison. In addition, prisoners were stripped of their real world identification and given numbers to be identified as. Combined with a disgracing uniform, this made prisoners lose all individuality, especially after having their heads shaved. The guards also were given uniforms. They were given identical uniforms of khaki pants and shirt with a club, a whistle, and most importantly, sunglasses. Sunglasses were so crucial because they made the guards anonymous, a lack of emotion, and promoted their own self-esteem. Guards were given limited training and instructions as well. They weren’t allowed to physically abuse the prisoners, but Zimbardo almost emphasized psychological…show more content…
Apparently #8612 was going to get a gang of friends, come back, and free all of the prisoners. Zimbardo describes his own reactions at the time as one of maintaining security in his prison, instead of observing what would have happened, like a psychologist would do. Zimbardo cleared the prison and waited for the “gang” to show up, but they never did. The rumor proved false and the research team rebuilt the prison. A full day without any data collected. Harassment increased. Pushups were done, prisoners had to clean toilets with their bare hands, and large amounts of humiliation was always in store for the prisoners. #819 was the next prisoner to have a breakdown. After refusing to have a visit with the priest, the guards made the prisoners chant #819. Zimbardo himself tried to calm #819 down, but to no avail. He had a breakdown and wouldn’t stop crying until Zimbardo released him, which he seemed in shock about. Things continually worsened until Zimbardo called off the simulation, saying “enough, we have to end this.” It was ended on only day 6 after intending to go for 2 weeks. Zimbardo had all of the prisoners and guards reconcile afterwards, having everyone discussing the moral conflicts and the alternatives they could have taken. The experiment was finally over.

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