353125 –Critically evaluate the role of self, attitudes and behavior in a human rights approach to prison managementIntroduction: Human rights guidelines for prison management According to human rights approach the prisons are to be managed in ethical context. It is most effective and safe. The international human rights have provided some guidelines for treatment of persons deprived of liberty (Murdoch, 2006). The important points of these are presented below: All persons deprived of liberty shall be treated with respect for their human rights. Persons deprived of their liberty retain all rights that are not lawfully taken away. Restrictions on persons shall be minimum necessary and in proportion to seriousness of their crimes. Prison conditions that infringe prisoners are not justified by lack of resources.
Life conditions in a prison shall be as in a communityAll detention shall be managed to facilitate reintegration into free society. Co-operation of outside social services to prison shall be encouraged. Prison staff shall be trained in its duty All prisons shall be inspected by government and be monitored independently. The present article assesses the environment prevailing in the prisons. The basis of study is taken a prison simulation study by Zimbardo (1972) which is close to reality as similar physical and mental torture of prisoners has been widely reported from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. A ‘functional Simulation’ of prisonA comparison of human rights provisions is made in the article with the prison simulated experiment, the Stanford prison experiment (Zimbardo, 1972).
It was called a functional simulation of prison in United States. We find that it has raised many ethical questions, though Zimbardo stated that the exercise has prompted national penal system to review its process and bring about changes to make its prisons more humanitarian.
The experimental prisoners or volunteers of the experiment were all young male students. They were given a loose tunic without any underclothes to wear as the prison uniform. Their heads were covered with women’s nylon stockings. Soon they began to walk and sit like women or there was emasculation of the prisoners. Their feet were put into chains to remind them of the oppressiveness of their condition. Their uniforms had numbers, their identification numbers, which were to become their identity for the duration of the experiment instead of their names.
They were addressed by this number only. The prisoners were no longer individuals with names thus an anonymous or de-individualization state was imposed upon them. The prisoners were given minimally adequate diet and three prisoners occupied a 6ftx9ft room (Eiser, 1986). The guards were also volunteers without any history of prison life or crime. All the guards wore khaki uniforms, had police batons in their hands and sported mirror sunglasses which gave them a stereotype prison guard look.
They took their role to rather extreme and harassed, stripped the prisoners naked in the name of searching and deloused them at the admission stage. The simulated prison showed de-individualization of both guards and prisoners. The guard took himself as guard and the prisoner as real prisoner. The guards asked the prisoners to do push ups and during these they stepped on their backs. The prisoners were told to clean toilet bowls with bare hands and prevented from going to toilet. The very second day of the experiment a rebellion broke out.
At this, the guards thought of using psychological tactics. They kept the leader of rebellion in the solitary confinement in a hole of 2ftx2ftx7ft. They rewarded the least rebellious prisoners with a stay in the privilege cell where they were given clean beds, better food and toilet facilities. As a result the prisoners were in confusion and became distrustful of each other taking the fellow prisoners as informers. But the move enhanced solidarity among guards. In less than two days the prisoners lost their emotional balance as they started breaking down, became nervous and frightened (Zimbardo, 1972).
The prison authorities (experimenters) thought they are trying to bluff them. The prison authorities in the experiment too behaved as stereotype jail authority. Thus the role playing had changed the behavior and attitude of authorities also who forgot that it was only an experiment. The experimental prisoners were so broken that they began to meekly follow whatever they were told to do. So much so that the sufferings of a fellow prisoner became nuisance to them and they did not show any compassion.
The experiment was required to be terminated much earlier than planned.