Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Professor Mirrors Milgram Torture Experiments

The Mercury News

Replicating one of the most controversial behavioral experiments in history, a Santa Clara University psychologist has found that people will follow orders from an authority figure to administer what they believe are painful electric shocks.

More than two-thirds of volunteers in the research study had to be stopped from administering 150 volt shocks of electricity, despite hearing a person's cries of pain, professor Jerry M. Burger concluded in a study published in the January issue of the journal American Psychologist.

"In a dramatic way, it illustrates that under certain circumstances people will act in very surprising and disturbing ways,'' said Burger.

The study, using paid volunteers from the South Bay, is similar to the famous 1974 "obedience study'' by the late Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram. In the wake of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann's trial, Milgram was troubled by the willingness of people to obey authorities — even if it conflicted with their own conscience.

Burger's findings are published in a special section of the journal reflecting on Milgram's work 24 years after his death on Dec. 20, 1984. The haunting images of average people administering shocks have kept memories of Milgram's research alive for decades, even as recently as the Abu Ghraib scandal.....


Anonymous said...

Professor Burgers conclusions need to be re-evaluated. The so called obedience of some one in authority doesnt explain that, if you dont obey our authority we will punish your family, steal your assett's, torture you or whatever else is necessary to get you to obey?? djw

Anonymous said...

It sounds as if the Burger study may have used subjects to be tortured that were unrelated to the torturer. (no inate instinct to protect your own) The torturer could than subconsiously say "it is the authority figures fault/reponsibility, I was just following orders. Wouldn't this be similar not only to some law enforcement who hide behind the badge as well as judges and prosecutors who justify overcharging and oversentencing saying to themselves, "this is what the legislature has mandated me to do?" Plain Jane

Anonymous said...

Plain Jane:

You got it! The same mindset with the judicial system. Sheeple. Hmmm! Wolves in sheeple clothing.

Good thinking, Jane!

Anonymous said...