At the police station, things proceeded normally, as they did, for suspects convicted of a felony. Fingerprinted, identified, and left in a jail cell detention, the 'convict' was then moved into the "Stanford County Prison" where the real work began. The prisoner was then stripped naked, issued a uniform, given bare necessities, and, most humiliating of all, de-loused.
After the rough but not particularly painful handling, the prisoners were introduced to the warden, who made a little speech and handed out the prisoner rules. The prisoners were expected to memorize them.
Then everything fell apart.
Day 1 passes with little incident. Both the prisoners and the guards probably thought this was one big joke. Still, sitting inside a prison all day must get to you...
A rebellion breaks out. Prisoners assert their identity and barricade themselves in the cells, taunting the guards. The morning shift guards come in, gets upset at the night shift guards for not really doing anything, and decide to use force. They call in three guards from stand-by while the night shift three decide to stay overtime (for a total of 9 guards), and then use a fire extinguisher to force prisoners away from the doors. They strip the prisoners, remove the beds from the cells, and throw the ringleader into solitary confinement. This is when the real harrassment by the guards begin.
Physical force is all fine and dandy, but hell, six guards were not getting paid for this additional labour. So they switch tactics from physical to mental. The guards make one cell a "special" cell and the three least involved in the rebellion get to go back in, clothes and all, with the privilege of being allowed to be clean. A bit later, they switched prisoners around, so that the "bad" prisoners went to the "good" cell, which resulted in the prisoners not knowing what to expect and who to trust.
About 36 hours in, Prisoner #8612 breaks down and scares the hell out of the other prisoners by screaming, crying, and telling them that there was "no way out". Researchers think he's faking so he can get out of the experiment and release him with extreme reluctance.
Interestingly enough, all the 'rights' as asserted in the prisoner rights sheet are turned into 'privileges' by the guards. Eating, sleeping, going to the bathroom, talking, smoking - all these turn into 'privileges'. The time to watch movies and read are cancelled by the guards until further notice.
Visiting day for parents! Prisoners are dressed and cleaned to look presentable for parents. Like it's all one big happy family. They even have dinner and music!
A rumor spreads around: Another rebellion, this time led by the released prisoner 8612 (who 'obviously' faked his emotional disturbance). 8612 was planning on storming the jail cell with his allies and releasing the prisoners. The staff overreacts, plants an informant into 8612's old cell to get the details, tries to move the prisoners/experiment into Palo Alto's police department's old jail cell (a city official raised a ruckus about liability/insurance, so the police department turned the request down), and instead haul all the prisoners into a storage room for the meantime. They also hatch a plot to bring 8612 back into jail if and when he came back for the other prisoners, under the pretext of him lying about the emotional outburst the day before.
Needless to say, nothing happens. The guards notice the ruckus and harassment increases. Prisoners are forced to do pushups and jumping jacks for hours; they are also forced to clean toilets with their bare hands.
A priest comes to visit the prisoners. Acting like a stylized representation of a priest, he chides the prisoners for not getting a lawyer (after all, prisoners have rights, too). Prisoner 819, who refuses to see the priest, breaks down when confronted by Zimbardo and Jaffe and has to be released. He initally refuses to go when the other prisoners are forced to chant "819 is a bad prisoner. Because of what 819 did to prison property we all must suffer. 819 is a bad prisoner." Because of this, he must be told that he was not really a prisoner, but just another college student in an experiment before he is persuaded to leave.
A second prisoner also breaks down and is released. (Note: this prisoner might been released on either day 3, 4, or 5, but seems most likely on day 3 or early day 4 before the parole board shows up.)
A parole board hearing is set up for the prisoners. When the remaining prisoners are asked if they are willing to forfeit the wages to be freed, the majority say yes.
The parole board turns down parole for one particular prisoner, which triggers a psychosomatic rash over the prisoner's body. He is then released.
A stand-by prisoner is then introduced. (Note: this either happens on day 4 or early day 5.) Prisoner 416 (the new prisoner), unused to the brutality, goes on hunger strike. The guards use extreme tactics to get him to eat: they throw him into solitary confinement; instead of helping him when given the option to by the guards, the other prisoners label him a troublemaker and offer no help.
Another prisoner breaks down and has to be released.
Early that evening, visiting parents ask the superintendent (Zimbardo) to contact a lawyer to get their son out of prison.
A lawyer comes in, on request of Zimbardo, to interview the prisoners with standard questions (however, he is fully aware of the experiment).
At this point in time, the experiment is cancelled prematurely by Zimbardo.