• Prelude
  • Setting Up
  • Arrival
  • Guards
  • Rebellion
  • Grievances
  • Escape
  • Conclusion

Slide Tour

Constructing the Experiment

To help us closely simulate a prison environment, we called upon the services of experienced consultants. Foremost among them was a former prisoner who had served nearly seventeen years behind bars. This consultant made us aware of what it was like to be a prisoner. He also introduced us to a number of other ex-convicts and correctional personnel during an earlier Stanford summer school class we co-taught on "The Psychology of Imprisonment."

Our prison was constructed by boarding up each end of a corridor in the basement of Stanford's Psychology Department building. That corridor was "The Yard" and was the only outside place where prisoners were allowed to walk, eat, or exercise, except to go to the toilet down the hallway (which prisoners did blindfolded so as not to know the way out of the prison).

To create prison cells, we took the doors off some laboratory rooms and replaced them with specially made doors with steel bars and cell numbers.

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