Setting up

The study was run in a purpose-built setting which looked and felt like a prison. It was totally enclosed with no window on the outside world.

There was a central atrium where the Prisoners ate, worked and relaxed. In the atrium there was also a ‘Guards’ station’ with TV screens so the Guards could monitor the Prisoners in their cells. The three cells themselves, with their barred inner door and solid outer door, each contained three unsprung beds with coarse blankets. Each cell had a toilet and a wash-hand basin. Off the atrium, there was a communal shower room to which Prisoners had restricted access.

The Guards’ quarters, at the end of the atrium, were far superior. They had an exercise area (to which the Prisoners could be given access at very limited times of day), a comfortable ‘mess room’, and a separate dormitory with good-quality beds. There was also an upper level that the Guards alone could access and from which they could look down on the Prisoners.

Finally, there was a small round isolation cell. The Guards could use this if they wanted to place the Prisoners in solitary confinement.

The prison

The prison