Even those Guards most determined to fulfil their role are starting to give up. One complains about the Prisoners getting away with murder: “I don’t think people are going to challenge them enough and I can’t challenge them all the time”.

The Guards grow more and more fearful of what the Prisoners might do next: “They’re going to lock us in somewhere. That’s it, isn’t it? That’s what they’re going to do”.

All our data tells the same story – observations of behaviour, responses on psychological scales, cortisol from saliva swabs – the Guards are experiencing high levels of stress and increasingly suffering from burnout.

They lack group identity and they are divided. And this forms a vicious circle, for the more they are divided and fail to support each other, the greater the strain becomes on each individual Guard.

One solution is to retreat. Do the minimum necessary with the Prisoners, but don’t interact too much, don’t get too close, keep checks to a minimum. And if another Guard is geting a hard time from the Prisoners, keep away and be thankful it isn’t you.

This solution soon proves disastrous...

The Prisoners work collectively to put increasing pressure on the Guards; the Guards provide each other with no such support