The Stanford University Prison Experiment Essays

985 Words Oct 6th, 2016 4 Pages
The 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment conducted by Stanford University Professor Philip Zimbardo, gave an essential viewpoint into the psychology of prison guards (authority figures) as well as inmates. Through this experiment, subcultures arose that defined the roles of guards and inmates. The guards tended to take on more aggressive roles, using psychological abuse towards the inmates as punishment and a means of control. Meanwhile, the "prisoners" were victimized by the "guards." The experiment brought forth the idea that good people can create harm in negative environments, such as correctional institutions. The experiment tends to assume subcultures will arise, however it is unreasonable to claim extreme subcultures will arise in all cases. I personally believe it takes the work of at least one individual, to abuse their authority for others to follow, creating a domino effect. For instance the "guard" featured in the documentary John Wayne, stated he wanted to test the prisoners ' willingness to obey and used more aggressive tactics (The BBC, 2013). It is important to consider in an institutional setting each correctional officer has a different tactic or approach to manage and diffuse situations. For instance "hard liners" tend to force rules without flexibility as well as flaunt their authority. In contrast "people workers" or "synthetic officers" tend to be more flexible with rules, as well as understanding of inmate circumstances (Griffiths, Murdoch, 2013). The…

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