Philip Zimbardo, who was in charge of the Stanford prison study whereby college students were selected randomly to play as the prisoners or guards in a simulated jail strongly believes that his experiment is similar to the Abu Gharib prison situation. According to Zimbardo prisons have an environment where there is an unequal balance of power. Thus, even normal people who do not have any previous psychological problems can change and become abusive and brutal. Zimbardo asserts that it is a case of putting good apples in bad apparel and the barrel corrupts whatever it touches. The prison situation is a good example of the power differential. The guards have power over the prisoners who in this case are powerless. The only way to help prevent abuse of power is by having strict leadership. Zimbardo explained that in a case like a prison where the guards and prisoners are trapped in some kind of alien setting and they do not have a common culture, the situation will result in abuse. According to Zimbardo, the not many soldiers commit such abuse but only a few of them will go to such inhuman extends. Most people will follow the rules when in new situations. Zimbardo asserts that everyone has the potential to do good or evil. The human mind can guide one into doing anything that is imaginable. The mind can guide us into creating hell or heaven on earth. It all depends on the situation where an individual has been enmeshed. The soldiers mistreating the prisoners in Abu Ghraib were in an evil barrel. However, Zimbardo said that such things can be prevented if there is transparency, accountability, and respect towards the enemy. The captive relationship that encourages such behaviour is the power of differential. The guards have total control over the prisoners.The behaviour is also contributed by lack of external institutional checks on the power that the guards exercise. Social labeling also plays a role in such behaviour the guards view the foreigners as being less of human beings.
According to Zimbardo the forces, the lead to such behaviour can be a failure in leadership, dehumanization of the enemy lack of personal accountability and even diffusion of the responsibility. Luckily it is possible to prevent such atrocities from taking place again. Zimbardo has several suggestions to help prevent such issues form occurring. One of his suggestions is brought military experts correction son board to help model the U. S prisons. The other suggestion is to releasing the detainees who are no longer a security threat. Other suggestions from other experts help curb the problem are training, staffing, direction, supervision, and accountability. Most of the guards had not been trained to work in prisons. They did not have any training needed to interrogate the prisoners of war or terrorists. The training should be such that the guards are educated on how lack of personal accountability can lead to abuse. The problem could also be because of having fewer guards and many prisoners. Thus, it encourages brutality. There is need to have roper planning to avoid the imbalance. There is also need to have supervision to ensure that the unit commander pays frequent visits to the prison. There should be explicit procedures that will ensure that there is full accountability. There is no doubt that such measures will help in preventing the problem from occurring.