Shawshank Redemption

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This movie has concepts from several chapters throughout the book, and your other readings. Watch the movie.

Next, write your comment. Your comment does not need to provide an overview of the movie (we have all seen it). Your comment should be an in-depth analysis of one or more principles from your text or other readings. You should use scenes and characters to provide examples of textbook concepts. Your comment should reflect that you are in a university level Psychology & Law course and clearly link elements from the movie to your readings.  This is a comprehensive assignment (linking course lectures, readings, and the movie) and you cannot do that in just a few short paragraphs.

BE SPECIFIC. At the bottom of your comment, please put a list of the psychologyical and legal terms you used. 

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“The Shawshank Redemption”

Movie Analysis: Psychology & Law

It is clearly shown in the first five minutes of the film even as early as the beginning credits begin does the viewer realize that this the plot of the movie and for me it clearly showed the link between the law and psychology. Chapter 4, 16 and 17 have the largest links to the movie and those are the ones that I will be using throughout my analysis.

Once again within minutes you find yourself in a court room and you begin to hear the defendant “Andy” (played by Tim Robbins) describing his accounts of the night in question. You realize quickly that this is the plot of the movie or at least the crime that was committed. The prosecutor is laying out the evidence for the jury to hear, “he admits he was there and his footprints, tire tracks, fingerprints on the bullets, the liquor bottle with his fingerprints and most of all his dead wife dead next to her lover”. {Chapter 4- the psychology of forensic identification and physical trace evidence} When he is done with his closing arguments even I would have submitted a guilty verdict with all that evidence. I can certainly say that I would have not have had reasonable doubt. The psychology part is in the way that the prosecutor described Andy, being an angry husband because his wife left him that night, he description of the way the weapon had to be reloaded because it only had 6 bullets and the murderer used 8 bullets, really did seem like revenge and premeditated, like whoever the killer was did that on purpose. Normally, murders that are committed like that always are done by someone who knew the victim/s. In this case the puzzle just fit perfectly. And so the judge sentences him to a double life sentence to prison even then he still claims his innocence but it doesn’t matter. The forensic identification was reported to be inclusive, which means “matched” Andy, even more so individuation occurred which means it ONLY could have come from him.

Another relationship to our textbook and the movie was how the jury took into account the trace evidence which in most cases jurors find this to be a very strong aspect and look to it for verification on whether or not a person committed the crime. Juries like eyewitness testimony and fingerprints. We don’t hear from the defendant’s attorney. I didn’t like that part nothing to create reasonable doubt which is one of the key concepts for jurors to consider. Reasonable doubt is usually created by the defense and in this case there was none. Put’s a good spin on one of the famous lines in the movie, “I’m innocent, my lawyer fucked me”.

As the double life sentence is handed down to “Andy”, I find myself already flipping to the next chapter in our textbook which is chapter 16; corrections, sentencing and imprisonment. In this chapter I found many examples and concepts from the movie and our book. First of all, Andy was sentenced to prison which serves the simplest of goals, incapacitation as well as for the retribution aspect. According to our book, in the late 1960’s and so on there was great interest in the brutality and violence that was happening in prisons also in the effectiveness and superiority issues that were going on. The movie is before that but it certainly begins to portray that concept in detail right from the arrival to the prison. The warden welcomes the prisoners to the prison and informs them of two things, “put your faith in God but your ass belongs to me”, clearly showing that he is the highest of the high. As our book points out, whether or not a prisoner receives treatment is typically left up to the warden. After that part of the movie you really begin to see the violence from the guards. When that first prisoner cries out on the first night he never comes back from the infirmary. Clearly the harshness of prison is seen in that scene and in many that follow. Prison life takes not only your freedom but it also takes a person’s humanity away, too. Psychologically a person can lose their mind in a place that is built on making a person feel less like a human being. Every prisoner is kept in a small confinement, they make them all dress the same, refer to them as numbers and/or call them all sorts of other degrading things. Prisoners have absolutely no rights what so ever. They are told when to eat, bath, go outside (if permitted) and if they need medical attention they have to be physical harmed or fill out a slip. The culture of prison is seen and the prisonization occurs. The power of the prison situations can be linked to the Morgan Freeman’s character “Red”, who is an older prisoner. Apparently, he is the man at Shawshank and if you needed something they he is the one to talk to. Showing once again the superiority and or power but this time through the inmates. Another point in chapter 16 – the harshness of prison life and what incarceration becomes for the prisoners. It must be extremely stressful as the movie portrays it seems unbearable. The psychological strain that each prisoner must face with always having to live in fear of other prisoners and even the guards. If you lucky though, like Andy, you make a friend with a guard.

The next big comparison concept with our book is in the scene where Andy finally asserts himself against the gang/gang member that continues to taunt him and has tried to rape him continuously for the first two years of his incarceration. Andy once again is outnumbered and they are holding him down, Andy threatens to bite off his private part if the guy puts it into his mouth. Andy ends up getting a beating like new before. But because just before that scene you see that Andy had just did a favor for one of the main guards and because of both of those antecedents the situation came to a whole other consequence, one I sure didn’t expect. The violence continues and after Andy’s beating, the guards (because of what Andy did for the guard by helping him keep an inheritance of 35,000) gave that same gang member who beat Andy an even worse beating that put him in a wheelchair for life and drinking out of a tube. The physical violence is so real and there are parts in the movie that any viewer cringes because of the sounds of bones being broken, the whaling and yells of grown men being broken down by each other. From accounts of the real prisons in chapter 16 you begin to realize that this movie really does portray a sense of reality towards prison life. Yes, this movie is not a true story but there has been a movie based on actual events with similar results as this one i.e. Escape from Alcatraz. And maybe neither movies really portray a perfect picture of the judicial system but I from where I see it at this point prison is the only place for people who are convicted of a serious crime and/or who are psychopaths be placed. The violence gets worse for some of the characters. Yes, there are alternatives but rarely are people or the cases given enough time or is there enough money for the system to make sure every case is dealt with correctly.

In Chapter 17 you encounter the section where your find errors and mistakes in death penalty cases just as you find in the scene where the “new” kid reveals he had been in a cell with an inmate that confessed to the crime that Andy had been convicted of. Can that really happen in real life? Yes, pointed out in our book, since 1900 there is a historical study done by Hugo Bedau and Michael Radelet that identified 416 wrongful convictions. That is an alarming number of innocent people that were falsely killed. Because of DNA there have been a reported 140 cases that have proved the innocence of people on death row and that was since 2010. When Andy takes the information to the warden, the warden confronts the kid and then kills again. I know it’s just a movie but that really was a twist because I am certain that corruption still exist in today’s prisons. Maybe not to that extent but it still lives. Personal accounts can be found in books like ours, online, journal articles and so forth of actual accounts from people who are or have been in prison. Many accounts of the unfair, cruel punishment and how the power of superior positions treatment towards the prisoners are vivid and support issues just like the ones shown in the movie. Then comes the escape which may or may not be similar to the possible actual events of the prison break from the movie referenced above, Escape from Alcatraz. Who knows? But I do realize that even although I am for the death penalty, I am remorseful of those that died and were innocent. As far as how the movie ended quite honesty I was rooting for the good guy all along. I have to conclude my analysis with truth, not everything is black and white, right?

In conclusion and although I am going back to Chapter 16, living in prison, incarcerated, identified as a prisoner by their last or even by number, a convict who possibly acted like an animal at one time that society felt should be sentenced to jail. I know that those are the people I am destined to help when I finish my degree. I want to work for a prison as a psychologist, the highest rank in the psych field and hopefully I will help those who find themselves incarcerated and in prison for a number of years or for life, I want to help them. Now, as I conclude my analysis on a more personal note, I have a few family members in prison as I blog this, right now. Sometimes it takes an assignment like this for me or as well as for people to realize how lucky they really are. Some people grow up under circumstances beyond their control, they grow up in poverty, brought up by parents that don’t care or who are on drugs for that matter; their choices in life are a reflection of the choices that were given to them. Criminals commit crimes, get jail time, they get out, and some people actually learn from prison life although the recidivism rate is not at all that encouraging. Inmates are not learning or really benefiting from prison or the life. That means there’s a whole or a need for reform. I hope to bring some light into the life of someone, someday because like this movie, “I’m guilty of committing a crime” as Morgan Freeman ends the movie. Some people call me a survivor, I call myself an exception to the rule. You might say I’m lucky or I got a second chance, as for what I think ~ I’m getting exactly what I deserve.

Terms: Psychology, reasonable doubt, court room, law, defendant, crime, prosecutor, footprints, verdict, evidence, fingerprints, trace evidence, jury, sentence, guilty, innocent, gun, weapon, convicts, murder, physical trace evidence, murderer, premeditated, killer, closing arguments,dead, sentencing, inclusive, forensic, inmates, prison, death penalty, judge, innocence, individuation, attorney, imprisonment, violence, rape, defense, corrections, incapacitation, retribution, brutality, warden, power, prisoners, infirmary, life sentence, psychologically, guards, gang member, convicted, wrongful convictions, escape, death row, drug, the truth, crimes, reform and criminals.

I had actually never seen The Shawshank Redemption before this assignment. To be completely honest, I’m not sure what all the hype is about. Sure, the character and plot development are good, but nothing about the movie stood out to me. Maybe people built the movie up too much and I had high expectations. Either way, it will never beat The Green Mile as my favorite prison related movie. It connects well with many things we have covered over the semester or will cover as we move further into the corrections system.
Right away when convicts enter the prison system, they are shown their place. They are strip searched, hosed down, deloused, and given generic clothes. Their individuality, dignity, and privacy are taken from them. The inmates in the movie comment on the fact that someone always cries on the first night out of fear, uncertainty, or the mental strain. Besides the physical restrictions from the outside world that prisons provide, they also serve as mental prisons. You spend much of the time with your own thoughts and limited interaction, which can take its toll on inmates. This psychological toll was especially evident older versions of the prison system from before the many reforms that have taken place.
The part of the movie that covers this topic leads directly into the next point I want to make about this movie. One of the new inmates breaks down on his first night, and when the guards tell him to quiet down, he cannot control his emotions or calm down. He is beaten into submission and then carted off to the infirmary. There are several instances of officer-inmate violence portrayed in this movie. It is often as punishment for not complying to orders, but the part that stands out most in Shawshank is the results of this brutality. Later in the movie we find out that the new inmate died from the injuries he sustained when the guard beat him the first night. We also see the same guard beat another inmate who has to be transferred to a different institution after being paralyzed by the guard.
The topic of suicide both in and after prison is covered in this movie as well. Inside the prison, Brooks and Red felt important. They had a specific job, were respected, and fit into the system. They spent so much of their lives behind bars, that the idea of re-entering the rest of the world is scary. Brooks doesn’t handle the stress of the change well and ends up taking his own life. Red begins to contemplate the same fate as well, but is ultimately saved by his friendship with Andy. Society has changed and developed since they entered prison and would be easy to feel left behind. I had never considered this aspect of release before. Suicide also occurs while inmates are still in prison, which goes back to the mental strain caused by imprisonment. Inmates might feel helpless or as if their life is insignificant now that they are imprisoned.
There was a part of Shawshank that I’m sure not a lot of people in this class will pay any attention, but it sparked an interesting conversation with my best friend while we watched it. Brooks raises a crow that fell out of his nest in the prison yard and keeps it as a pet in the library. It gives him another activity to devote his time to and it makes him happy to have a companion. There are prisons in the US that allow inmates to keep cats (articles about this included below). Programs like this provide a home for shelter cats who would have been euthanized and provides a different means of rehabilitation for the prisoners. Inmates must pay for the cats expenses and have good behavior in order to keep the cats, which makes them work hard and stay out of trouble. Inmates develop a sense of purpose, which helps combat the psychological hardships posed by prisons. Just think of how happy Brooks is with his bird, Jake, or Eduard Delacroix with Mr. Jingles in The Green Mile. Check out the articles, it’s an interesting idea.
http://www.pawprintsthemagazine.com/?p=6469
http://www.petside.com/article/cuddly-catz-innovative-cat-foster-prison-program

Shawshank Redemption: Prison Reform, conformity, recidivism.


If not from a course requirement and example of the prison lifestyle everyone should see if not more than once a viewing of the Shawshank Redemption. It’s hard from a cinematic perspective to not view the film as a masterpiece and the number one film of all time for quite some time. It’s easy to say then that the Shawshank Redemption unlike other films did a fundamental job in completing a goal by cinematographers which is to stand the test of time and remain current. That is to say the film through its well-orchestrated directing and plot avoided semantic satiation, a phenomenon which over repetition leads to lost meaning to the listener. That is to say, no matter how many times the film is viewed it’s a masterpiece from prologue to epilogue.
The film portrays its story then in two flavors, one through enjoyment of the viewer in terms of a cinematic approach, and the other as a depiction of the true horrors, trials and triumphs prisoners often face within the system, or that is within the confines of prison. The very nature of prison and its characteristics historically have been a topic of debate and evaluation. The very nature of how and where to put different criminals based on committed crimes and so forth is extremely interesting however in this case the largest depiction is from the prisoners perspective in terms of what they go through, how they become institutionalized (on a psychological factor), the basis of and the problems that arise with the probation process, and the supposed nature that the film easily makes a mockery of which is the notion of “rehabilitation.”
The introductory scene in which we are introduced to the character of Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins) begins the basis of the depiction of the prison horrors that criminals are faced with. In this particular case, although everyone throughout the movie claims innocence, Andy indeed was. However, he ended up in prison for a double murder of his wife, and her lover. Partly, because he was indeed at the scene right before the murder (which lead to the collection of trace evidence) placing him at the crime, and of course due to the smoking gun in this case which happened to be a witness hearing him say he was going to do harm to his wife and her lover. This leads to the first horror of the justice system, which we have examined extensively throughout the semester. Just as we saw in the movie twelve angry men, here is another depiction and example of a man going to jail due to the incorrect testimony of an eyewitness. Partly because Andy may have had a public defender, which we all know produces trifles (which everyone during the movie blames for their conviction) or partly because the jury put too much weight on the testimony and closing statements, nevertheless Andy ended up in Shawshank.
The quote in the movie which stuck out to me was the quote stated by Morgan Freemans character “Red” when he said “they sentence you here for life, and that’s what they take.” I found the quote interesting as that it easily depicts the systematic nature, and construct of prison. The first depiction of this fact was when Andy arrived at the prison. Andy and the newly admitted criminals were stripped naked in order to search and process them, a technique used to humiliate and degrade them. This common practice was looked at and evaluated before when we read about the Stanford prison experiment, and the psychological toll it places on the criminals is earth shattering.
Perhaps most interesting was the character of Brooks Hatlen (played by James Whitmore) the elderly man who played the role of the librarian. His character through the depiction of wanting to stay in prison after being accepted for parole depicts accurately the psychological effects of prison, along with the questions of recidivism, and institutionalization.
As stated before a main goal is to break down individualism and reinforce conformity. In order to do so although physical punishment as the film depicted was often used, psychological effects are easily witnessed throughout the film. It’s clear that the warden through fear leads the prison system in an autocratic and authoritarian manner. This type of style leads to conformity and discipline to keep guards and the like safe. Further, through the use of operant conditioning prisoners learn through negative reinforcement that certain behaviors over others will be tolerated. From the very first scene this is depicted as that the criminals are marched naked in front of one another, to depict a group rather than individual mentality while at the same time laying the foundation for accepted behavior. Failure to comply such as asking “when can we eat” as depicted in the first scene leads to physical harm or “punishment” which ceases that behavior. As a result conformity becomes key and the old quote “while in Rome” or in this case prison that the easiest way to survive is to conform. This is a key depiction of a psychological process described by B.F Skinner known as operant conditioning. In this case negative stimuli such as acting against prison rules become avoided quickly out of fear of punishment in a physical manner. Examples of this process were present in the film. Having no contraband in your cell avoided confrontation with the warder. However, if caught you were punished. Although punishment and negative reinforcement is far from being the same thing both are used in prison in order to maintain order.
This phenomenon on conditioning can then be extrapolated as to why Brooks may not have wanted to leave prison, as well as why the character of “red” thought it was difficult to live on “the outside” due to years and years, decades and decades of conformity, the way you view yourself changes along with your temperament. As a result as stated throughout the movie by Morgan Freeman’s character you indeed do become institutionalized.
The film did do then a good depicting how prison isolates, deters, and confines prisoners as well as making a mockery of the “rehabilitation” term. Throughout the movie “red” tries on several occasions to be accepted for parole, and only after he admits that the term “rehabilitation” is a made up word used by politicians is he accepted for parole. And it’s true prison does a fine job isolating criminals, but a poor job putting them back into society to be successful. The movie depicted this as that when “red” finally got out he thought everyday of breaking his parole simply to go back out of a lack of knowing how to live. He even asked permission to use the restroom at his job, most likely attributed to the agonizing years of conformity, and condition that I mentioned before. This could explain why recidivism is so high as that criminals return simply because they no longer have the means to function after being released.
The movie then can be said to have done a good job depicting the life of criminals within the prison system. It raises the awareness that prison life is hard, but has to be in order to maintain safety, security, isolation, and so forth. It’s clear prisons accurately work as a means of deterrence however, fails to deter returning criminals due to recidivism factors. Through conditioning behavior is transformed, and isolation, along with the need and desire for criminals to seek retribution is avoided and of course general deterrence and specific deterrence to criminals and society in the like is reached do to the structure of the prison system. Although prison is meant to be this way it does raise awareness that the goal of reconciliation should be fostered. That is to say if criminals were given opportunity within prison to do good, in Andy’s case the library life, and a general sense of hope to survive once released could be fostered. However, reform may not come as that overcrowding and budget as depicted in the film just like real life is often a leading cause of most of the problems as those funds become an issue. Overall the movie as always was brilliant, and even more so when evaluated in an educational light in terms of psychology and law.


Terms: prison, deterrence, isolation, eyewitness memory, recidivism, parole, institutionalization, operant conditioning, punishment, B.F skinner, negative reinforcement, conformity, Stanford experiment, trace evidence, closing statements, pretrial instruction, jury, “rehabilitation”, temperament.


I thought Shawshank was an excellent representation on prison life during the 40's and 50's. No I have never been to prison nor do I plan on visiting anytime soon but from what I've read and previous movies I have seen, Shawshank stood out because of the way the characters were developed. The audience sees the development of Andy throughout the film from lowly personal banker, to nearly making friends with the guards and becoming the prison's personal banker. Although, Andy was helping the guards with their taxes and what not, they still exerted their power over him. Previous prison films I have seen have some prisoners living rather lavishly in prison, Andy rarely got to experience any of that besides drinking beer with his buddies on the roof.

The first scene provided a glimpse at the trial process implemented during the 40's and still being used today. Evidence was provided during the trial that clearly linked Andy to the murder of his wife and her cheating partner. Footprints, tire tracks, loose bullets, and a compelling lecture told by the prosecuting lawyer didn't help Andy's case of his alleged innocence. His revolver holds eight bullets and six of those bullets were missing when police recovered the weapon. Situational irony was presented when the audience sees Andy drunkenly drop six of the bullets on the ground. Unfortunately because of his intoxication he couldn't recall any of those events. Reasonable doubt couldn't be claimed because Andy had no alibi whatsoever.

Our book defined prisonization as the assimilation of new inmates into the values, norms, and language of the prison. Throughout the entire film, the audience sees numerous times where prisonization comes into play. The scene where the Andy first steps off the bus for the first time is a classic example. Red and his prison mates are lined up against the wall and have a good time making bets on who is going to succumb to the pressures of prison first. We see the unusual comradery these inmates have. Each prison has its cliques or groups and this film does a good job creating a distinction between those groups. The sisters are a prime example. During the film they are constantly trying to corner Andy and rape him. While the actual accuracy of such an encounter may be misleading, the various scenes where Andy and the sisters fight provides a glimpse at the numerous groups present in prison. Andy's own assimilation into Red's group takes some time and effort. He essentially had to prove his worth, as I'm guessing the majority of the group members did, in order to be accepted. He comes across as more of an outsider to the group most likely because of his education. While others see prison time as a means of relaxing and enjoying the prospect of having little responsibility, Andy takes it upon himself to develop his own hobbies.

Chapter 16 had many aspects present in the film. Knowledge of the goals of imprisonment makes the film easier to understand. Without the knowledge that Andy is indeed innocent, the main reason for being sent to prison is incapacitation, that is while you are behind prison walls you are no longer a harm to the general public. While you may still be a danger, the judicial system believes the lives of people in prison are not as important as those who are not incarcerated. Adding onto that thought is an important scene where Morgan Freeman's character attends a parole hearing. Numerous times he is rejected because he gives a speech on how he has been rehabilitated. Later in the film we see how Andy's nonchalant behavior has rubbed off on him. Instead of giving a whole spiel about being rehabilitated, he accepts the fact that if he is rejected again he remains in prison where he has been living for forty plus years. A second goal of prison is deterrence which deals with presenting convicts with a hellish prison life so that when they are released they no longer want to commit crimes for fear of being sent back. This is an unusual dynamic in the film because Andy (and the rest of the inmates) believe they are innocent. How can you deter criminals from future acts of crime if they believe they are innocent.

I think it's necessary to talk about Brooks' suicide because it pertains directly to prison life. Brooks was the elderly man who was basically able to roam free around the prison because of his age. Our textbook has yet to discuss instances where a prisoner becomes so acclimated to prison life that they barely stay alive when reintroduced to the real world. In Brooks' letter to the guys back in prison the audience hears first hand the troubles the newly released man goes through. Some of them would hardly register for any of us because we are accustomed to this world. We go to the bathroom and eat whenever we feel like without an authority figure standing over us. Brooks however missed his "home", he was constantly being yelled at by his manager and had trouble coming to the realization that times had changed since he had last roamed free. The act of simply going about the day as any normal citizen would became difficult for the man. One could argue that his breakdown was due to depression. It's evident in his letter that he missed his family and even joked about robbing a liquor store so he would get sent back.

There are certain limits that the courts do not hold over the prisons. Sure the prisons have to follow a set of rules so as not to make the living conditions too harsh, as integrated by Rhodes v. Chapman (1981) but ultimately whatever truly happens in a prison is up for debate. When the guard beat that new prisoner to death towards the beginning of the movie it got me thinking how often that might have happened earlier in the 1900's. The case mentioned above defined what is cruel and unusual punishment in prisons. "To the extent that such conditions are restrictive and even harsh, they are the penalties that criminal offenders pay for their offenses on society". So not only morally what that guard did was wrong but if anyone could/would have testified (if the warden did't shoot them in the chest) he would have been in the exact same position as the prisoners he was guarding. Ultimately his fate was determined when he pleaded guilty to money laundering and embezzlement. The point I'm trying to make is cruel and unusual punishment is a loose line. Just as a judge would more often than not believe a police officer rather than a criminal, that same judge wouldn't doubt that a guard acted in self-defense if a beating was to occur.

terms used: reasonable doubt, rehabilitation, deterrence, parole, prisonization, incapacitation, prions

In Shawshank Redemption there were many factors relating to prison and other areas of psychology and law. In Andy Dufrense trial the jury found him guilty of first degree murder, a murder that is willful and premeditated. He is convicted due to circumstantial evidence. He owned the same gun that the murder used and he had a motive for killing his wife and her lover. There were also tired tracks and footprints belonging to him. Andy’s finger prints were one a liquor bottle that had fallen out of his car when he drove to his wife’s lover’s house. The prosecutor points out all of this forensic evidence during trial. Andy also admitted he was at the scene and had gone there with the intention of killing them but had sobered up and turned around and went home. He was also drunk that night which may have played into the jury’s decision to convict him. The judge at his trial says that Andy does not show any sign of remorse and that it despises him. This is an example of confirmation bias. The judge thinks that Andy committed the murder so he attributed Andy’s lack of emotion due to fact that he is guilty and does not feel any remorse than to the fact that it might just be his personality or that he might be in shock. He is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison. The jury sentenced him to life in prison because they found that the mitigating factors outweighed the aggravating factors. He is then taken to a prison which is where convicted criminals are held for long period of time.

When he arrives he is stripped, hosed down and a disinfecting powder is thrown on him. This process is degrading and shows the prisoners right away who is in control. He is then given a uniform with a number on it and has to walk to his cell in the nude holding this uniform. This is the first sign of the prisoners losing their sense of self. They have no privacy and are a number instead of a name. When the guards take roll they only call the prisoners by their numbers and never refer to them by name. By the prisoners losing their sense of self it makes them less threatening. The guards then can also look at them as objects instead of human beings which could account for some of the brutality towards them.

In prison illegal activity happens. There is a hang that beats up and rapes other inmates. There is also a character, Red, that can smuggle things into prison. The main guard also beats up and sometimes kills the inmates when they don’t do exactly what he wants, such as at the beginning of the movie a new inmate won’t stop crying to the guard beats him to death. Andy, a skilled banker, also starts doing taxes for the Warden and the guards. This is an example of the brutality that can occur in prison. Although hopefully in the real world is does not occur to this extent. During this he committed tax fraud for the Warden. He takes the bribes that the Warden takes and makes it into honest money. Because of this cover up when the Warden discovers that Andy is an innocent man he won’t free him. A thief had come to the prison and told Andy that his old cellmate admitted to the murder to Andy’s wife and lover. This guy committed the crime out of revenge which would have been first degree murder, which was what Andy was convicted of. The Warden makes a comment about how he knew that Andy was guilty because of his sullen and quite personality. This is confirmation bias, just like the judge had.

Brooks, an inmate, was released on parole after spending 50 years in prison. He is unable to adjust to prison life and eventually kills himself. Red also experiences this when he is released on parole. He is working at a grocery store and cannot go to the bathroom without asking for permission because that’s what he has down for the past 40 years. He also contemplates killing himself until Andy gives him away out. Which Red takes and violates parole to go to Mexico. Brooks committing suicide is an example of how a person can become mentally ill in prison. He was so used to a certain routine that he could not adjust to the freedom and actually wanted to go back to prison.

Andy is also subject to being put in isolation during one point. He is put in isolation for two months. This is used as a form of punishment. He is put in a small room with no light and no human contact. His meals are shoved through a slot in the door. Based on the look of him it also doesn’t seem like he was permitted to shower or perform and bodily hygiene. This type of isolation could lead a person to be mentally ill. Humans need social interaction to function. This is seen in an experiment done be Harlow on monkeys. This type of isolation, in my opinion, would fall under the category of cruel and unusual punishment. I also feel that after that type of isolation Andy would not have come out as the person that he had gone in as.

This movie shows inmates in the prison setting and the effect that it can have on a person. It also shows the brutality that the guards can have as well as the corruption that existed in the system during that time. It also shows the illegal activity that still takes place in prison. There is also a great deal of deindividuation. I enjoyed this movie and was extremely relieved when it had a happy ending.

Terms: deindividuation, 1st degree murder, forensic evidence, loose of self, isolation, mentally ill, circumstantial evidence, aggravating factors, mitigating factor, prison, jury, judge, parole, confirmation bias

Shawshank Redemption has always been one of my favorite movies and it was interesting to see how it related to our current coursework. In particular the movie related well with chapter sixteen of the textbook. The beginning of the movie, though, related with chapter four and chapter thirteen. The beginning of the movie shows Andy Dufresne on trial for the murder of his wife and her lover, specifically the prosecutor questioning him. The prosecutor is a professional and intimidating man, he then addresses the jury. He discusses the latent fingerprints at the crime scene, the shoe prints, the tire tracks, and then tells the jury his opinion. He continues to tell them to “consider this,” and goes on to make a picture for them to imagine. This type of evidence, the fact that his gun was not found, the fact that he wanted to harm them in some way, was enough real and circumstantial evidence for the jury to find him guilty. The way the prosecutor talked to the jury may have influenced them, even though that is not considered evidence, but because he painting a very convincing story for them to believe about the crime. Andy Dufresne is convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for each of the lives he supposedly took.
Once the movie moves to Andy being taken to Shawshank Prison it first shows Red visiting with the parole board. Parole boards meet with prisoners to discuss their sentence, check on their behaviors, see if they have been rehabilitated, and check if they could be assimilated back into society. The text discusses the lessened use of parole boards today, mainly because of legislation that gives them less discretion or none at all. This parole board denies Red’s ability for parole. During the middle of the movie Red visits with the board once again, and repeats what he did the first time, but is again denied. At the end of the movie Red is quite frank with the man from the parole office asking him questions, he does not say what he thinks they want to hear, and he just tells them the truth. He is then released, after serving around 40 years of a life sentence. Today this probably would not happen because of truth-and-sentencing laws, where convicts must serve at least ¾ of their sentences. Red then enters a halfway house, just as Brooks did earlier in the film, and gets a job bagging groceries. He discusses how it was difficult to get to work and to find his way in society again.
Andy begins at Shawshank and immediately is thrown into prisonization, trying to assimilate in the prison. The inmates are waiting for the new men and actively harass them, trying to break them down. The guards then lead the new inmates to meet the warden, then are stripped and cleaned, and marched to their cells naked. They are given standard clothing that has a number on it, which they must wear daily. This, as shown in the Stanford Prison Experiment, helps to break down the prisoners and show them who is in charge. It is a way to get the men to stay in line while they are in prison. Violence and the threat of it is a major issue in the movie and in real life as we have learned through the textbook. The guards beat someone up when they ask about their first meal, and when an inmate breaks down crying the first night, the guards beat him until he dies. This intimidates the other prisoners not to act out. There is also a lot of violence between inmates, specifically homosexual rape in Shawshank Redemption. It is done to demean the victim and to dominate others, at some points in the movie Andy could fight of “The Sisters,” but other times he could not. Boggs, the main perpetrator of Andy’s harassment, corners, forces, intimidates, and beats him. Andy never tells guards or other prisoners who attacks him, but it is stated that most people just knew who it was. In the text it describes that prisoners do not generally attempt to be placed in protective custody when they are being sexually assaulted because it is seen as a form of snitching. When Andy is badly beaten one particular time, the guards take it upon themselves to get back at Boggs, resulting in him never being able to walk again.
Other things discussed in the movie are retribution, when the warden puts a new program in place, allowing the prisoners to go outside and work on things to benefit the community. Although the prisoners were not in solitary confinement for the entire time, it is shown. Andy and Boggs both spend time in “the hole.” For one instance Andy spends two straight months in there, it is clear at one point that he is in an extremely fragile state from being isolated for so long. According to the text, living in these conditions for long periods of time can result in serious depression and psychosis. It is also clear that Shawshank Prison has quite low funding, and that this particular warden is pretty skimpy with money allocations. When Andy asks the warden for money to increase the prison’s library he says that the senate only wants to send money to the prison if it’s for more bars, more walls, and more inmates. At one point towards the middle of the film Andy is talking with Red about the illegal activities he is doing for the warden, and then states that it took him being thrown in prison for him to do something illegal. This relates to the text in that many criminals become better criminals when they are in jail, surrounded by other criminals. In real life they learn how to deal drugs better or how to get away with crimes better, but Andy was referring to what really happens just in a different situation – prisons creating more crime. Red is also a man that “knows how to get things,” meaning that he gets things on the black market for the other prisoners. This relates to how drugs are fairly easy to acquire once in prison and this was shown by Red being able to get cigarettes and other knick-knacks that the men wanted and could pay him for.
Multiple things from the book are relatable in the movie, specifically how prisons work and how people assimilate to prison life.

Terms: latent prints, circumstantial evidence, life sentence, rehabilitation, parole boards, discretion, halfway house, truth-and-sentencing laws, prisonization, retribution, black market, depression, psychosis, coercion, rape, assimilation

The movie Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies. It contains a number of different concepts that we have learned throughout the psychology and law class. It seems like every time I watch this movie I find more and more things interesting. While watching it for this class I focussed a lot on the legal concepts, because that is something I never really focussed on. I noticed a lot of psychological concepts as well but I had already noticed a lot of those in previous times of watching this film. There were legal and psychological concepts throughout the entire movie starting at the very beginning.

At the beginning of the movie it was obvious that the legal system was going to play a large role in the movie. Andy Dufresne, the main character of the movie, is charged with the murder of his wife and lover. While in court what appears to be the prosecution is making their statement about how Dufresne was guilty of not just an act of passion but a thought out act of pre-meditated revenge. He made this point by explaining that eight bullets had been fired but the gun only contained 6, so Dufresne would have had to re-load the gun and shoot them each one more time. This court hearing appeared to be the second phase because he was sentenced to serve two life sentences at the trial. I thought it was interesting that they did not show anything about the deliberation of the jury, or any attempt from the defense attorney to help out Dufresne. I thought it was interesting when the prosecutor said to Andy that it was pretty convenient that the gun was never found and then Andy said that because he was innocent it was actually inconvenient.

One of the first things about the prison that I noticed we had learned about previously was when the prisoners were deloused when they arrived. They were stripped down, sprayed with what appeared to be a fire hose, and covered in the white delouse powder. We learned from the Stanford Prison Experiment that this was to rid and lice or other germs that the prisoners could be carrying into the prison. Not only does it accomplish those goals but it also humiliates the prisoners immediately after arriving at their new prison.

The next thing I found interesting in this film was the prisoners making bets about which new prisoner would break down first. It was not the fact they were betting that was interesting it was what happened once the prisoner starting crying and yelling that he did not belong there. The guards came and Captain Hardley beat him up until he was knocked out. The inmate was then taken to the infirmary where he later died because the doctor was not there until the next morning. This event was interesting because it was one of the first times in the movie that it showed the different roles between the prisoners and the guards. As we learned in the Stanford Prison Experiment, some guards get so into filling their role that they can treat prisoners in this manner. It makes the prisoners realize who is in charge and what the guards can do to them if they disobey.

Another interesting thing about this movie was how Andy became protected by the guards. While re-doing the roof in the spring, Andy overheard Captain Hardley's concern about his $35,000 inheritance. He thought he would end up having to pay money after taxes and other expenses, but Andy helped him to find a plan to avoid that and keeping all of the money. After this he not only gained some respect from his coworkers for giving them beer, but he gained some respect from the guards. Captain Hardley beat up Bogs who had been beating up Andy, and abusing apparently raping him. Bogs never walked again after Hardley took care of him. This was the beginning of Andy's protection. He was then granted a job of doing taxes in the library and doing paperwork for the warden.

The paper work he did for the warden was another interesting part of this movie. This showed the corruption going on in the prison. The warden was taking jobs and having his prisoners do the work. They would make practically nothing for their labor, because the warden described it as them doing community service. I learned in the book Orange is the New Black that prisoners that do not have a high school education only make 10 or 15 cents an hour, so I am sure that in the time of this movie they were working for nearly nothing if not nothing. The warden however was making money because he was getting paid for the work his prisoners were doing. Andy's job was to do the paper work and make sure there was no paper trail to catch up to the warden.

The psychological principles in this movie are almost infinite, but their are a couple that are especially interesting to me. One interesting thing was when Brooks the old librarian found out he was granted parole. He grabbed a knife and was threatening to kill one of his friends with it because it was the only way they would let him stay. Red described this as being institutionalized. He explained this term as how when a prisoner first arrives they learn to hate the walls, then after a period of time they begin to love the walls, and finally they begin to depend on the walls. Brooks had served 50 years in prison and had no clue how to interact outside of prison. It is terrible that he was released without being given any preparation for what he was about to return to. His parole allowed him to live in a halfway house which helps inmates to slowly get back into society. He had a job at a grocery store but for him it was hard work. This was sad to me that he was given a job he could hardly do, but he had to do it because other wise he would have had nothing. He ended up hanging himself because he felt scared and didn't want to live with it anymore. He had thoughts of committing a crime so he could return to prison. That was interesting to me because we learned that a high percentage of criminals return to prison after being released.

When Red was meeting with the group of individuals that decide on parole I was amazed at how the meetings went. He met with them 3 times, each time was ten years apart. The first time they asked him if he was rehabilitated and he told them yes he was and why he believed that. The second time the same thing happened. The third time was the most interesting time. When they asked him he said rehabilitation was a made up word. He also talked about how he felt regret everyday for what he had done as a young man but there was nothing he could do about it. This third time he was finally granted parole. I was surprised by that because it seemed like the first time he met with them he was rehabilitated and the last time he was just out of hope.

This made me think about rehabilitation and whether or not prisons really rehabilitate prisoners at all. I think prisons focus more on punishment and making prisoners feel regretful for what they did than trying to change their behaviors and prepare them to re-enter society. I feel that prisons should focus on trying to modify the behaviors that got the prisoners there. I understand they are sent there to be punished for what they had done, but when they leave prison they do not have the proper social skills needed and seem more likely to commit crimes. As Andy said to Red he was straight and narrow until he got to prison.

Red, Andy's best friend, was able to get Andy a rock hammer, which is like a mini rock pick for Andy to shape rocks. That was interesting because at first when Red saw the hammer he laughed and said it would take a man 600 years to dig out of prison with that hammer. At the end of the movie it showed that Andy was able to do it in less than 20 which is amazing.

All in all I really enjoyed watching this movie. It is still one of my favorite movies of all time and I am glad that I was able to watch it and connect it to new concepts that I am learning in the Psychology and Law class.

Terms: prosecution, defense attorney, second phase, life sentence, judge, pre-meditated, deloused, corrupt, parole, institutionalized, rehabilitated, and punishment.

I had never seen The Shawshank Redemption before being assigned to watch it for this class. People have told me it is a classic and it is a movie that everyone should at least watch once or twice. So I'm glad this class gave me the chance to do so, also due to the fact that I am a big fan of Stephen King's work, but that is a completely different tangent. I noticed a lot of connections in the movie to the topics we have discussed in class and what we've read in our textbooks.

At the beginning of The Shawshank Redemption we are witnessing Andy Dufresne's court trial. Andy is a banker that was on trial for the murder of his wife and her lover.When the night of the murder is being recounted, the prosecutor is laying out all the evidence for the jury to make their verdict. The prosecutor says that Andy admitted to being at the motel the night of the murders, which is where the bodies were found the next morning. Andy also apparently admitted to leaving footprints, tire tracks and even fingerprints on the bullets. So all the evidence points to Andy and as we have learned before that the jury thrives off the physical evidence. This is different because Andy knows that he is an innocent man and he keeps telling people that but of course no one believes him, not one bit. This has a connection to forensic identification and at first I find it hard to believe that Andy is innocent due to the relentless prosecutor. A concept of psychology to look at would be Andy's emotional state the night of the murders. Andy was very angry the night she admitted to an affair and left him to be with her lover, according to the prosecutor. This was an act of revenge or premeditated murder. Typically a murder like this is committed by someone who knew the victim. I noticed that the jury was of course going off all this evidence so Andy was charged two life sentences in prison, one life sentence per victim, which I found odd and the judge just left it at that.

Watching this movie, you get a really good look into what the prison system of the 1940s and 1950s was like. This is where concepts of chapter 16 come into play. All about the prison sentencing and the life in prison. Right away the "new fish" are "reeled" into Shawshank and there is already brutality and heckling coming their way. I'm still greatly appalled at how brutal the guards were towards the new prisoners at Shawshank, especially Captain Hadley, I hated that man right away. I know there needs to be force on the prisoners but Captain Hadley takes it all to a new level. The brutality towards the prisoners reminded me a lot of the treatment of the prisoners in the Stanford Prison Experiment, which was a topic of discussion in one of our blogs last week. In Shawshank, as soon as the prisoners arrived they were stripped naked, showered, and deloused just like how the prisoners were treated in the Stanford Prison Experiment. This was a form of humiliation for the prisoners and it was to wipe out any individuality they had. For someone who just arrived to a very different "living" environment, this treatment can be one of the causes of psychologic deterioration, taking them down to practically nothing. A good example would be the very first night for the new prisoners at Shawshank, one had a mental breakdown right away and burst into tears crying, "I don't belong here, I want to go home." and "I want my mommy." Inmates said that the brutality does result in this for some of the prisoners. Well the vicious Captain Hadley doesn't stand for this and beats the poor prisoner to unconscious pulp. Later we find out that the prisoners died that night due to the injuries he received from Captain Hadley. So it is pretty evident what prison has already taken its psychological toll on the prisoners and behavior has changed dramatically. The prisoner died as a nobody to his fellow inmates, which was how the inmates in the Stanford Prison Experiment were also treated, Just as a number or a nobody. The prisons provide restriction from the outside world but also serve as imprisonment to the mind.

What I found interesting is how Andy gains protection from the guards, even Hadley starts to look out for Andy. He helps Hadley with some financial woes and pretty soon Andy becomes the financial advisor for the guards. He ends up doing everyone's taxes, which I don't know why, I found rather amusing, it kind of gave some light to Andy's dark depressing life in Shawshank. This just goes to show you that Andy has brought about some change in the system of Shawshank and it is quite different than the typical prison system of the 1940s and 1950s. Another thing I would like to point out is the several times Red has met with the parole board and he rejected parole every time. This makes me question what exactly Shawshank does to provide rehabilitation to their prisoners, to make them good again. The prisoners are put through solitary confinement if they act up, even Andy was put in solitary confinement for two weeks, but the prisoners aren't locked up in solitary confinement all the time for 24/7 like older prison systems used to do.

I learned in a part of the movie some concepts of chapter 17, which goes into the topic of the death sentence and any errors that are missed during the sentencing of a convict. There is a scene in the movie where there is a new prisoner who claims he shares a cell with a man who confessed to committing the murders that Andy was charged two life sentences for. As we have learned before that there can be many errors in any evidence, but mostly eyewitness testimony, which is the most sought after evidence by investigators and the court, and after all there errors made I don't see how some eyewitness testimonies are even gathered, but it is still evidence. Andy goes to the Warden with this information from the inmate and the warden confronts the inmate and he kills again. Due to all the errors that the court system makes, DNA evidence is a very lucky discovery. 86% of prisoners on death row were exonerated after the discovery of DNA evidence. This shows there that prisons are still corrupted and that some evidence can be wrong despite many attempts for change in the system over the years.

Overall I enjoyed this movie and it is one I would like to add to my giant DVD collection. This movie and others we've had to watch for class really helped with my understanding of different psychological concepts within law.

Key Terms: Forensic identification, brutality, behavioral psychology, evidence errors, eyewitness testimony, DNA evidence, rehabilitation, solitary confinement

The movie “The Shawshank Redemption” was a very interesting film. What made the film interesting was because of the fact that it dealt with an innocent man being sentenced to prison. My favorite line from the movie is where Andy is talking about how on the outside he was a law abiding man; he had to come to prison to become a crook. It was a very interesting film that looked into the aspect of our prison system. It also had a lot to do with a lot of the different psychological effects that prison can have on someone. The first area of psychology and law that we see in the film is the actual trial process itself. Andy is sentenced to prison after going through a trial by jury. Within the first opening scenes of this trial, we see how the prosecution basically destroyed Andy’s defense. What was interesting about this was the fact that we talked about in class about how it tends to be that the person in court that can tell the best story is usually the one that ends up winning. We find out at the end of the movie that Andy is actually innocent; however, at the time of the trial everyone is assuming that Andy was guilty. I remember the prosecutor questioning Andy about how his gun magically disappeared in the river and how that was just an amazing event that Andy just so happened to throw his gun in the river at the night of the murder. We eventually find out that he is innocent; however, the prosecution was able to convince the jury that he wasn’t innocent and therefore Andy was sentenced to jail. Another area of psychology that we saw in the very opening scene of the film is something that the textbook “Forensic and Legal Psychology” calls competence. According to the textbook, competence refers to “whether an individual has sufficient present ability to perform necessary personal or legal functions.” In the case of the movie, Andy wasn’t insane or had any mental issues; therefore, it was decided that he would be able to stand trial for the crimes that he “committed.” Another area that we see in this opening scene is how the jury makes decisions on whether or not someone is guilty or not. According to the textbook “Forensic and Legal Psychology” juries make decisions based on two different models; those models are mathematical models and story model. The mathematical motel basically says that the jury members decide whether or not someone is guilty on the basis on how much the facts add up on to either side. The example that the textbook gives to describe this is the fact that a juror basically has two ends of a line. At the ends of the line are innocent and guilty. In the middle of this line there is an arrow that points straight up, and to move this arrow the prosecution and defense give evidence. Based on this evidence, it moves the jurors “arrow” to one side or the other. In the case of the movie, the arrow for the jury was probably moved to the side of guilty just because of the fact that Andy had thrown his gun in the river and also he had motive to do the killing. The story model is basically says that jury members look at the information given to them and they come up with a story, based on that information, about what probably happen when the crime was committed. This is where the problem of who is the better story teller comes in. The fact is that the prosecution did a much better job of presenting their side of the story and because of that, an innocent man was sentenced to prison. An example of how the prosecution told a better story was that fact that he made Andy’s explanation for why he threw his gun in the river into something negative. This leads into the next point of the scene that has to deal with psychology and law and that is something called the liberation hypothesis. The liberation hypothesis basically says that the jurors make their decisions based on the strength of the evidence presented to them. In the case of the movie, Andy was innocent. How could it be he was sentenced to prison? The reason that he was sentenced to prison was because of the amount of evidence that was presented against him. Also, it probably had to do with the strength of the evidence against him, based on the fact that he had no explanation for where the gun actually went and that he was the only one that actually had a motive to do the killing, and because of this reason, he was sentenced to jail. The biggest aspect of psychology and law that we see in the film is the aspect of why we actually put people in prison. This aspect is basically that we want people to be punished for the crimes that they commit. These aspects are basically determined by something called determinate sentencing. According to the textbook “Forensic and Legal Psychology” determinate sentencing requires that judges hand down certain sentences that fall within a prespecified range if the defendant is found guilty of a crime. Based on the fact that Andy was found guilty of the crimes that he committed in court, he was sentenced to life in prison because of the fact that he had killed two people. This leads into the next area of psychology and law that we see in film and that is the prison system itself and the parole board. The prison system is self is basically a housing unit that holds convicted criminals for long periods of time. In the case of the movie, the prison would be Shawshank. Parole refers to releasing inmates from prison under the supervision of a parole officer before their entire sentence has been served. According to the textbook “Forensic and Legal Psychology” parole is usually based on the decision of a board of individuals that decide whether or not the person is read to enter back into society. In the case of the movie, the parole board is scene a couple of times in the film where Red is trying to get released back into the general public but keeps on getting denied. The other time that we see it in the film is when Hayward is being released from prison and goes to work at a store and live in a halfway house. However, he eventually commits suicide because he can’t handle living in the outside world. That a lead into another aspect of psychology that Red brings up is something called institutionalized. This basically means that someone spends so much time in prison that they actually learn to depend on it and when/ if they ever get released they don’t really know how to act in with the rest of society. The example of this in the movie is when Hayward is about to be released, he actually attacks one of his friends because he believes that it is the only way that they will let him stay in prison. This brings up a bigger question and that is the goal of the prison system itself. If the goal of our prison system is to deter people from committing crimes and actually make better individuals by trying to make them learn from the bad things that they committed; we are going to need to rethink how our prison system is conducting itself. The final aspect of psychology and law that we see in the film is the aspect that deals with the harshness of prison life. Andy is raped and attacked by other inmates, and he goes through a lot of mental problems. This shows that maybe sending people to prison isn’t the best thing for our prison system to actually do; the reason being that it actually doesn’t accomplish its goal. Overall this was a very interesting film and I am glad that I got to watch it.
Terms: institutionalized, determinate sentencing, liberation hypothesis, story model, mathematical models, competence, jury, trial

I had watched this movie just last semester for Motivation and Emotion, but watching it the second time around was even better! The movie is really lengthy but time flies because you’re just so involved and entertained; the movie is over before you know it! While watching this film, I noticed many concepts relevant to our class.


First, at the beginning of the movie when Andy is on trial for the murder of his wife and her lover, we see testimonies of physical evidence that leads back to Andy. Some things such as Andy’s footprints, the broken bourbon bottle, and the bullets on the ground with Andy’s fingerprints on them were really strong physical evidence. It’s no surprise that Andy was convicted because we know from chapter 4 in the textbook on physical evidence that jurors take this type of evidence into account very heavily. The fact that the bullets on the ground had Andy’s fingerprints on them was huge for the jury to convict Andy because fingerprints are regarded as a “no-doubt” way of convicting someone. In addition, we know from the movie that Andy had plenty of motive to be the murderer. He had just found out his wife had cheated on him and his marriage was falling apart-she had just said she wanted a divorce. From class, we’ve talked about how the human brain likes to make sense of things. The human brain likes a story that is logical. The fact that Andy’s wife had been cheating on him gave Andy motive and a good story for the jury to convict him.


Also in the movie we get a good glimpse of what prison life may have been like in the 1940s-1960s. Right away at the beginning of the movie when Andy shows up at Shawshank, we see the routine that the new prisoners go through. They are deloused and sprayed down with a hose; they’re also yelled at continuously and treated like soldiers in a boot camp by the guards. This section of the movie reminded me very much of the Stanford Prison Experiment. If prisoners didn’t follow orders, they were beaten much like the students in the experiment were. In chapter 16 of the textbook, a special section is dedicated to the distinctive culture of prison life and I think this film does a great job of portraying it. Excerpts from real prisoners in the textbook describe prison as boring and idle. We see this evident in the movie as prisoners do anything for entertainment. Prisoners make bets, play catch in the fenced in yard, and Andy carves rocks. Also common within prison culture are gangs. We see evidence of a gang in the Shawshank Redemption when we see Andy attacked twice. We commonly see groups of prisoners “hanging” out together, similar to different clicks in high schools. This is relevant to social psychology.


I can also see how cognitive psychology is relevant to the movie. It is obvious throughout the film that prisoners become “institutionalized” as Red puts it. In other words, their ways of thinking changes drastically. Their mentality is different. An example of this is when Brooks goes out to join the rest of society and live as a free man. He had been in prison for over 50 years so his mind had much trouble adapting to the world. Brooks ultimately couldn’t handle it and committed suicide. We also see evidence of this at the end of the film after Red is a free man. He asks the grocery store manager if he can go to the restroom and was told he doesn’t need to ask permission, he can just go. Red’s cognition had been changed as a result of prison life and he didn’t feel any sense of autonomy.


Besides cognitive psychology, I also saw evidence of a lesser known topic in psychology: the psychology of music. We see how this is evident when Andy plays the Italian music over the intercom. The music he played had the power to make “every man feel like a free man” if only for a limited time. The music helped Andy and the other prisoners temporarily escape from their dull lives. The slow, relaxing tune of the music is important because we know from research that music can have an impact on mood. The situation may have been different if the music Andy played was a heavy rock or metal band or if the music was something more upbeat (like Katy Perry?). The music that Andy chose to play helped him get through the week in the hole he had to spend as a punishment for his rebelliousness.


Finally in the movie, we can see evidence of personality psychology. Andy has a different personality and we can see right off the bat that he is a quieter, more reserved man. Andy is an introvert while Tommy (the younger man who Andy helped receive his high school diploma) was clearly an extrovert. Tommy was loud and outspoken in addition to being somewhat arrogant while Andy said few words and for the most part, kept to himself. We also see the Warden’s high need for power as he struggles to keep control of Andy despite the “rumors” that Andy really didn’t commit the murders.


Terms: psychology of music, cognitive psychology, social psychology, personality psychology, physical evidence, fingerprints, motive, jury, conviction, Stanford prison experiment, murder

I have seen Shawshank Redemption before, but I was really excited to watch it again through the lens of psychology. All the characters in the movie are unique in their own ways. I saw many different aspects of the movie that were relatable to what we have learned during out class time, and also different things that I have learned throughout my time taking classes in psychology.
The chapter we read recently in our textbooks talked about the prison system. It talked about the problems of items being smuggled in and out of prison and the large number of guards and inmates that take place in this kind of activity. Although in the movie the guards were not really helping to smuggle items, you could see that Red was the master at smuggling in these items. The movie reemphasis how much of a problem this really is in the prison system.
Another section in this chapter talked about half way houses. The purpose of these half way houses is to give ex-prisoners who have been part of the prison system for so long, experience in how the outside world works and how they can get back on their feet. I am not sure about you, but I don’t think the half-way house that Brooks or Red went to were really much help in getting them back on their feet. Brooks was so “institutionalized” as they called it in the movie that he had a really hard time fitting back into normal society and many times thought about committing another crime just so that he could go back to where he thought he belonged. Brooks felt so much that he didn’t belong that he ended up committing suicide. Brooks was in a state of psychological depression, which he should have received help with from the half-way house or a psychologist. There is a problem with many prisoners feeling this “institutionalized” feeling. These prisoners need a place of employment that they actually believe they can fit in and work hard in.
One of the larger aspects of the movie was the idea that Andy was innocent. Not only did he know he was innocent, but it was known to all of his friends as well after he found out that one of his friends cell mates at a different prison admitted to committing the crime. We not only talked about this in class, but we also read a lot about it in our book. The number of wrongly convicted prisoners is a lot higher than one would like to think.
Andy not only struggles with the idea that he knows he is an innocent man stuck behind bars, but he also has a hard time fitting in and finding his own identity in prison. At the beginning of the movie he keeps to himself a lot, he is taken advantage of sexually, and also gets in many of fights. However, after a while things begin to change for Andy. Having been a banker in his free life, Andy begins to help guards with their taxes, run a library, and tutor prisoners in hope they will be able to get their GED. All of these different roles that Andy takes on helps him to better identify himself to the man he was outside of prison, and those are some of the ways Andy comes to bear the 28 years he is stuck in prison as an innocent man.
I also found defense mechanisms relevant in the movie as well. Although some may disagree, I found Andy’s chess project away to cope with the stress and anxiety he had. He would take rocks that his friends would help him find and widdle them into different chess pieces until he had a whole set. This is an example of the defense mechanisms of sublimation. This is when we manage to displace our emotions into a constructive rather than destructive activity. This might for example be artistic, such as Andy creating chess pieces from rock

Punishment is also used a lot in the movie. Obviously it is a prison and their overall purpose of being inside of it is a punishment, but they take it even further. Andy receives large stretches in the “hole” which is basically a very small cell with no lights and you get minimal amount of food, unable to ever come out. Social learning theory would say that just using punishers would not be very effective. That is why when raising your children today; many parents use rewards a long with punishers. In shawshank there is really no incentive for being “good” per se because the warden is such a bad man.

Terms: Sublimation, half-way house, depression, social learning theory, reward/punishments, identity, conviction

Shankshank Redemption
This movie is about a man named Andy Dufresne, who was a banker accused of murdering his wife and her lover, in 1947. After having enough evidence to convict Andy, the jury sentences him to two consecutive life in prions at Shanskank penitentiary. Andy quickly became friends with a man named Red, who was a type of leader to all of the fellow prisoners. Most of the movie deals with the hardships, and prison life, and how prisoners are poorly treated. However, Andy is found innocent after a new prisoner named Tommy find evidence to prove his innocence. Also, after forty years Red received parole, but never really adapts to life outside of prison. This movie deals with many psychological and legal aspects.

One thing this movie addresses is the poor quality of prison life the prisoners experienced .Even though this movie took place in the 40s-60’s, there are many things that still can be problems today. For instance, many prisoners in this movie were brutally harmed physically by the guards, and one was even killed! Guards would physically harm them using many different techniques, but it got to the point with one prisoner that he was sent to a mental institution. Also, the prisoners were not given as many rights and objects as prisoners today should. For instance, the library was not very good, so prisoners could not educate themselves as much. Even though Andy wrote a letter every week asking for more books, the wish was not granted for a long time. However, on the contrary, the thing that surprised me the most was how much clearance and rights Andy received by the guards and warden for his financial expertise. Finally, Andy was able to escape prison with a tool he created. He created a hole in his cell behind a poster that he would not be able to have in current day prisons. It was unrealistic for Andy to be able to sneak out, but it made a great plot and ending to the movie. This would never happen in current day prisons, and shows how much prisons have changed.

Even though prisoners went through many struggles during this movie, this movie also shows how prisoners become adjusted and used to prison life. Andy at the beginning of the movie was nearly reluctant to adjust to prison life, but after he got into a schedule and routine and gained friends, he slowly and surely got adjusted to prison life. One example of a person who was adjusted to prison life was the librarian who had spent fifty years in Shanskank. He had spent so much time in the prison, they said it was “all he knew.” When he was released, he struggled to find friends, love and struggled with working at a job and discrimination. Red also had problems at the end of the movie, upon his parole and release from prison. He struggled to adjust to prison life, and did not know how to function outside of it. Many of the other prisoners could not even recognize their family or children once they got outside the prison world. Even though none of these prisoners enjoyed being locked inside a prison forced to do things they did not necessarily want to do, they all got used to it and did not know how to adjust to the real world when they got out. This brings up the question if prison is the best choice. Many of the prisoners could not only adjust to the workforce and the rest of the world, but they were also socially enable to communicate with people. This is partly because they knew they were being judged by their past actions and time in prison, but also because they were not well education and did not learn of anything outside the prison walls. Even though prison may be effective to an extent, this movie shows the flaws in the prison system.

Finally, this movie addresses how people can be falsely accused of crimes, and can be sentenced to a wrongful punishment. Even though Andy in this movie was first found to be “guilty” with what seemed to be reasonable and good evidence, he was found innocent. Luckily for Andy, even though he was sentenced to those decades in prison, he was luckily and fortunate not to be sentenced to the death penalty. If he had been sentenced the death penalty for the two murders, he would have never been found guilty and would have been put to death under false pretenses. This movie shows how the criminal justice system is not perfect; there are often many flaws within the prison walls.

All in all, this movie touches on many different topics and issues in the criminal justice system. Even though it is hard to prevent mistakes and some of these problems from happening, it does show how no system is perfect. Prison might not be the answer, but if prison is not what would be? How can we be sure if someone who says they are innocent is actually guilty? Overall this movie was a pretty good and entertaining movie, but it related to many different things we talked about in class. Some of these included prisons, prison life, parole, unreasonable doubt, being proven innocent and the death penalty. This movie was a good way to tie all I have learned this semester.

Terms: guilty, parole, discrimination, accounts, criminal, death penalty, unreasonable doubt, jury, verdict, evidence

"The Shawshank Redemption" Movie Analysis
The Shawshank Redemption was a really good movie and it was filled with many different principles we learned about in chapters sixteen and seventeen of the text. Throughout the movie Morgan Freeman’s character, Red, is asked over the course of several years if he thinks he has been rehabilitated. They want to know if he is sorry for his crime and if he is ready to leave on probation. We learned about probation in chapter sixteen. We know that if a prisoner is released they are then sent to a residential community corrections center or a half-way house. Like in the movie, this is done in order to help prisoners get back on their feet and learn how to live in the outside world again. But just like in the case of the character Brooks, many have been institutionalized. They are so used to being in prison that it is their safety net and they hate to leave. The real world becomes the scary place, and prison becomes their home.
“The man has been in here 50 years, Hayworth, 50 years! This is all he knows. In here he is an important man, he’s an educated man. Outside, he’s nothing. Just a used up con with arthritis in both hands… I’m telling you these walls are funny. First you hate them. Then you get used to them. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.”
This was my favorite quote in the movie. Everyone was wondering why Brooks was acting so crazy, but they just could not see how he had grown to see the prison has his home; his only way of living. He had made it so he was trusted by many, including the guards. They let him run the prison library all by himself. It was the hardest thing for him when he was thrown out in the world again. He talked about how before he went to prison how he had seen a car one time, but now they were everywhere and it scared him how much everyone was in a hurry. Many men who get let out probably feel this way too. They feel like the world has completely changed when they return from being away from it for so long. It makes some of them want to do what Brooks wanted to do and did. He wanted to go back to prison, but instead decided that taking his own life was his only option. It is sad that men who have served their time, and may have even changed their ways, cannot handle the stress of returning to the world. They want to commit crimes so they can go back to what they have grown to know and depend on. And that is the justice system, being in prison.
Another thing that was touched on in the beginning was the death penalty. The main character, Andy was sentenced to 2 lives in prison instead of the death penalty. The judge said “You strike me as an icy and remorseless man, Mr. Dufresne. It chills my blood just to look at you.” I believe the judge wanted him to have the time to sit in prison and think about the crime he had been charged with. However, the judge did not realize that he was innocent. And it is truly sad that when evidence had come into Andy’s possession, the warden, or the man in charge of the prison, made sure he would never be leaving his prison.
This movie was extremely enlightening and I am glad we were told to watch this. I had never seen it before, and I never would have if it had not been for this class. It was helpful to see what we had read about in action, and it was also a really enjoyable movie in itself.

Terms: Rehabilitated, Residential Community Corrections Center, Halfway House, Parole, Institutionalized, Death Penalty, Warden.

The movie Shawshank Redemption is a classic and has many psychological and legal definitions tied to it. The movie is about a man named Andy who is sentenced to a double life term in prison for the murder of his wife and her lover. During the trial, it seemed that the only thing the juries had to go by was what the prosecution was presenting. It seemed there was no hard evidence, whereas the process of finding DNA and trace evidence was practically nonexistent. It seemed that Andy was found guilty on very faulty pretenses, and the judge put him in prison based on his own beliefs and feelings, he didn’t seem to follow any sentencing guidelines.

From my view it seemed the main goal of prison in this movie was incapacitation with an attempt at retribution. This warden claimed his prison was one for rehabilitation, but this was obviously not true seeing how the prisoners were beaten and harmed on a daily basis, without being taught how what they did was wrong. Tying this to psychology, it seemed that not only were the prisoners physically harmed, they were also psychologically harmed, by the guards and the other prisoners. The first night the “new fish” stayed in the prison, the other prisoners tried to break them down mentally and psychologically, by yelling and calling them names. One man broke down that now in paranoia, and was in turn killed by the guards. The guards also abused the prisoners psychologically; and example of this is ‘the hole’. Andy was put down in the hole for two months so he could ‘think about what he did’ and so that when he came out he would not tell anyone about the warden’s illegal money laundering.

Another term that was brought up multiple times in the movie was parole. Red was put up for parole four times before he was accepted and let out into the real world. Red also broke his parole probation by leaving the country, when he was supposed to stay at the halfway house he was put in and work there until he was able to really live on his own.

The idea of being institutionalized, meaning that the prisoner learns to live in prison and forgets about how outside life works, was brought up many times. It happened first with Brookes, who had lived in the prison for almost all of his life, so by the time he got out he was an old man in a new world. He eventually committed suicide, because he felt living on the outside was not an option, a he know that he couldn’t try to go back to prison. This also happened with Red, yet his outcome fared better. Red was institutionalized and realized he couldn’t live on the outside world on his own, but luckily he was able to go live with Andy in Mexico. The thing that surprised me about this was the fact that they all wanted to go back to prison. I can never imagine wanting to go back someplace where I had no freedom, yet at the same time that was all they knew and that was t heir life.

The main thing that surprised me throughout this movie was the corruption of the prison, the prison guards, and even the warden. The fact that the warden used Andy as his own personal financially assistant without paying him was very illegal. The warden then realized he could use Andy to smuggle money illegally from businesses, because there was no way that Andy could do anything about it since he was on the inside. Andy also gained the protection and certain privileges from the guards, such as the protection from ‘the sisters’, because he was doing favors for the warden and was doing the guards’ taxes for them.
Shawshank Redemption not only outed the way the prison system was corrupt and still can be somewhat corrupt today, but it also showed the gains the prisoners made in bettering their life on the inside. The story of Andy, an innocent man who escaped, is so interesting, because although he knew he was innocent, he still made the best of his time and tried to help others.
Key Terms: prosecution, jury, sentence, trace evidence, halfway house, incapacitation, rehabilitation, institutionalized, retribution, incapacitation, parole

Shawshank Redemption
I have to say, if anyone wants to learn about what prison life could be like, along with what it can do to your mental state, Shawshank Redemption would be the one to watch. I wouldn’t account for his glorified escape though, that is very unlikely to happen in the real world. However, in this movie you will notice how some of the inmates were treated better due to their race and social class, such as the main character Andy. Finally, this movie also demonstrated a powerful description of how inmates are not rehabilitated, especially those who have almost served a life’s sentence.
First off, the prison life for any of the inmates in the film was not a pleasant vacation, especially for the new inmates, “new fish”. The new inmates were looked at as game, who will give in first? Who will be the first to break down on the first night? Unfortunately, one of the new inmates in the film didn’t even last a full night, all because the guard had beaten him to death. This was one of the things that I found most horrific about the film, was that the guard brutally beat some many of the inmates, and even killed some, but yet was never charged, or even got into trouble. Sadly, I feel that things like this do go on still today. Anyone could easily say that it was self-defense. Other component s that influenced the mental health of the inmates was how the inmates were treated with constant dehumanizing ways. When the new inmate died the first night, no one wanted to know his name; maybe that would be it seem less real to all of them? Another component also was the warden. The warden didn’t’ care about a single one of the prisoners. Yes jail is to keep the bad people away from harming society, and to make the prisoners suffer a little bit as well, but the last goal of the prison system is to rehabilitate. Yet there is nothing to help rehabilitate the inmates. Which is why Brooks could not handle life back into society, he had been incarcerated for fifty years; prison became his norm. I always go back and compare the military life to prison life, they are both very similar. Brainwashing techniques, stripping of identity, and constantly harassed and given orders, all these things happen in both “life styles”. Of course, I think prison life is much worse.
Secondly, as we watched Andy was able to become close with some of the guards. He himself did not truly respected them, but it went along with the plot in the movie, as he drained the prison’s money away into his own accounts. But I felt that through this portion of the movie, Andy was treated differently because for one, he was white, and had a college education. And he used his social status to benefit the guards, and gain trust. The guards were blind, because they were reaping the benefits. This I feel was only a small part within the walls, but still influential.
Lastly, what we have learned throughout psych and law and through the text is that a goal with in the prison is to rehabilitate. But in this move I never saw an ounce of an effort to try and rehabilitate anyone. Yes, the warden started the work program where the inmates could start working outside, and on the land for other people, but it was more like slave labor than anything. When Brooks had spent an almost life sentence, and once he was released on parole he felt that he had no purpose. The job that they placed him in was not equipped for his age, and he was uncomfortable in the living courters. Brooks always thought about committing another crime and try to get back into prison, but felt that he was just too old for that sort of thing. They day that Brooks was getting released he even tried to stab one of the fellow inmates because he was scared about leaving’ he had become “institutionalized”. We then know that Brooks commits suicide, because he just could not fit back into the world anymore. I feel that Brooks was a prime example as to why better rehabilitation programs need to be put into prisons. Once you’re stripped away from society, and put into a “routine”, prison life becomes your life, and the world is no longer a place for you.

Psychological Terms: dehumanized, rehabilitate, brainwashing techniques, institutionalized.

I found this movie to be extremely well done. It depicts many things from our semester.
The first thing that I noticed was the obvious similarities between the Stanford prison experiments. As in the movie they also made the prisoners undress and be searched as a part of being degraded and humiliated. It also shows the prisoners that they have no control over anything anymore and they are now, in a sense, owned by the warden. This can have a psychological toll on the prisoner. As I discussed in the previous blog it can take the prisoner out of their comfort level and put them into a deep depression. Making them realize that they are insubordinate and now have no control over their entire life. Having a sudden change such as being convicted of two consecutive life sentences Shawshank, especially when you actually are not guilty of the crime you were convicted of.
There was another psychological aspect to this movie that I wanted to bring up. The conversation that Red and Andy had about Mexico outside was interesting. Andy asked Red if he ever saw himself getting out and that he was the man to go to in order to get anything. Red explained that in prison, yes he was that man, but he belonged in prison. He said that he’d been in there so long he wouldn’t know how to start in the real world. I find this aspect interesting that it can crush someone’s hope so much that they would honestly think that they are better off spending the rest of their life in prison. I also wanted to point out that prison can have different effects on people even if they feel the same way about something. For example, when Red did get out he went to Mexico to find Andy. Given he had something on the outside for him instead of disappointment and unfamiliarity. On the other hand Brooks handled his freedom differently. He tried to make something of his life by getting a job and trying to be a better person, but in the end he just couldn’t do it. It was so upsetting to see him kill himself because he couldn’t handle living in the real world. Living out their sentencing in Shawshank made these two men change their entire view on the world, lead one man to happiness on the outside world with a new friend and another to his sadly and untimely demise.
There was also the crime scene that correlates with our class blogs and readings. The collection of trace evidence put Andy at the crime and of course the gun that was still smoking was hard evidence to argue. There was also a witness who claimed to have heard Andy saying that he was going to harm his wife and her lover. Although he claims to have heard it, it doesn’t mean that his testimony was correct. We saw in the movie 12 Angry Men that testimony’s aren’t always reliable. I believe it also showed that they shouldn’t be the basis of a majority part of the jury’s selection when having the life of another in ones hands. I’m uncertain on this aspect but I thought it would be worth bringing up, I believe here say would come into play into this testimony. And maybe if it had been later than the 40s this would have been taken into account on the testimony. As I understand you can’t say anything that you yourself weren’t told, or see yourself. I don’t know when here say came into play in the legal system but I know we discussed this in c lass and as I understood this would be considered here say.
There was also the chapter 16. Corrections: sentencing, imprisonment, and alternatives. The chapter talks about parole, which is being released from prison under the supervision of a parole officer. The movie showed Red was up for parole the first time and he stated that he was a changed man and he has learned his lesson. In the movie, as could be expected, he seemed nervous and intimidated due to what I would assume would be the immoral beatings and abuses the men in that prison had to go through. However, after the meeting with the parole board and going out in to the yard with his fellow inmates, he joked about it. He said something along the lines of same stuff different day, and another man said yea, I’m up for rejection next week. So, even when there is a little bead of hope (like parole) there still isn’t any left in these men. In the book it talks about how there are 6 different characteristics that raise risk with the parole board. I don’t believe the Red was a threat to society, displayed bad behavior in prison or any of these other 4 signs that were considered in the book.

Terms: Stanford prison experiment, prisoner, psychological, crime scene, collection of trace evidence, witness, here say, corrections, sentencing, imprisonment, parole, parole officer.

I had never seen the Shawshank Redemption except for a parody on Family Guy. It was definitely a very long and deep movie, but the concepts were very eye opening. The first thing I noticed was that Andy's trial was not a trial by jury. The decision was given to him by the judge, and the judge seemed to be superficial in the sense that he told Andy he looked stone faced and guilty. Andy didn't seem to have much of a defense attorney either, and his trial didn't seem to go by the concept "innocent until proven guilty". I had to remind myself that the trial was to be taking place in the late 40's, and the justice system has come a long way. The evidence is really what got Andy in trouble. DNA and fingerprints at the crime scene, along with scattered bullets and an alcohol bottle are pretty hard to explain. This is especially true since we know that if a person is under the influence they are more apt to think irrationally. Unfortunately, there was really no "three strikes rule" that the courts went by at this time, and Andy's character, based on the fact that he had never had any other charges against him, was not brought out in court.
Next, we see Andy brought to a prison. It surprised me that there were so many men at this prison for murder, yet the security really wasn't all that high. The guards were brutal, but the men were allowed to eat together, shower together, work outside, and spend their free time outside. They would even do things like play chess and checkers. I remember reading in the textbook that for those who had committed very heinous crimes were usually not allowed to associate together much, as they would get ideas from each other and possibly cause mischief. The prisonization process for new inmates was especially brutal. Like we learned about in the Stanford Prison Study, these men had their masculinity taken right out of them. The guards hosed them off and then threw some type of anti bacterial powder on them. They were then made to walk to their cells naked in front of all the other inmates. The warden, who was so evil, also talked down to them telling them that they belonged to him.
The prison life is very harsh, as read about in the text and seen in this movie. It is very hard to get use to because you are no longer in control of your own life. As seen in chapter 16, prison gangs are definitely another factor. In the movie, there is a group called "the sisters" who would single out people to rape and beat up. There were also other groups that weren't necessarily violent, but they would smuggle in things for their friends, including and not limited to drugs. I found it very comical that the prison currency was cigarettes.
The guards of this prison are a whole other story. The behavior they exhibited in this movie is a lot like what was described in the Stanford Prison Study. This makes me wonder if prison guards can really be this evil and controlling or if this isn't normal. Nevertheless, these guards would beat prisoners senseless and sometimes even kill them from their beatings. I will go ahead and include the warden because he was very crooked. The power of being in charge of others' lives definitely went to his head. He even had a man killed. The textbook talked about guards who make deals with prisoners and smuggle things in for prisoners. This is seen in the movie, as Andy does favors for the warden and the guards, he is given more privileges, such as alcohol for his friends and more time to do what he wants.
The biggest thing this movie does is make you question if prisons are doing their job. In chapter 16 we learned a lot about the goals of prisons, and although this prison incapacitated the prisoner, they focused way too much on deterrence and retribution. This prison was all about physical and psychological punishment to make the prisoner feel pain. The thing they were missing was true rehabilitation. Even the prisoners knew this when they would go to a meeting to apply for parole. It was so weird to feel such sadness for those prisoners who were granted parole and didn't know how to move on from there. The poor older man, named Brooks, was such a heart breaking story. Although to the professionals he seemed "rehabilitated" he was no where near ready for society. He called the prison home because he had known no other life for so long. The thought even went through his head of committing another crime so that he could come back "home" to the prison. Brooks ended up committing suicide, and we can see that he was definitely in need of more psychological help and how to deal with going back to the freedom of society. I know I have said this before, but prisons really need to focus on the individual rehabilitation of prisoners. What is really going to help them? Realistically, I know how hard this would be because of funding and time, but I feel it would be worth it for the safety of society.
Terms: trial by jury, judge, innocent until proven guilty, DNA, crime scene, three strikes rule, court, prison, prisonization, Stanford Prison Study, warden, gangs, incapacitated, deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation, parole

Shawshank Redemption was a better movie than I thought it was going to be. Much of what we have been talking about in class and in the book was portrayed in the movie.

In the beginning there is the scene where the character Andy is put on trial for the murder of his wife and her lover. Andy is put on the stand and he repeatedly tells the court that was innocent. Even though he claims his innocence he is sentenced to two life sentences at Shawshank Prison. Immediately after the prisoners got to Shawshank, including Andy, they were put through a series of humiliating procedures of being delousing, hosed down, and stripped of their individuality. The environment was definitely distressing; it was a rough night for the new prisoners.

The movie related a lot to social psychology and the interactions between the different hierarchies of people within the prison system. The Warden was at the very top along side of him were his trusty guards and even some prisoners were above others. The guards, for even stepping a toe out of line often beat the prisoners to death or near death. Andy got on the guards good side because of his high level of education, he was able to help out with their taxes and even helped the Warden launder money. It is safe to say that the prison system plays favorites and looks corrupt.

Dirty money was flowing in and out of the prison system and there was always a sketchy deal that took place. I thought it was interesting when the prisoners were doing free labor that the Warden was just putting on a show that he was doing good, but really he just was in it for the money and publicity. Items were smuggled in to the prison so easily, Red even made a business out of getting things from the outside. Mistreatment of prisoners to the point where the one boy that knew that Andy was innocent was shot and killed for the pure benefit of the Warden not wanting his secret leaked.

The prison environment was very violently portrayed in the movie, and not just by the guards. There was a time for almost two years that Andy was beat up by the same gang and raped brutally. There was nothing that he could do about it, there was a form of learned helplessness among the prisoners that they knew it was the way it was going to be, and there was no stopping the violence. Andy on the other hand even though he coped with getting beaten up over and over again still continued to talk about hope throughout the whole movie. He even gave Red hope in the end that he would get out and everything would be okay.

Red was one who had learned helplessness and talked about how they were all institutionalized and none of them would be able to live in the real world normally again. Brooks was a prisoner who had served 50 years before finally being released. He didn’t even want to go, it seemed almost like they were forcing him to leave his home. He eventually committed suicide when he decided it wasn’t worth living like that. Prison dehumanizes people; the whole rehabilitation process seems to be a joke. For someone to come from that hostile environment into the real world normal does not seem realistic.

Simple joys were brought to the prisoners, like when Andy risked a lot by playing the record over the intercom for everyone to hear. I believe Red said that it was all he could think about for a while was the woman’s voice in the song, and he didn’t even know what she was saying. It shows that the prison system is not giving people hope of returning to the outside world. If anything they die in prison from being beaten to death or when they get out they return to prison again. It is almost as if they are two separate worlds, inside and outside of prison walls.

Terms: social psychology, trial, sentence, innocent, emotional distress, hierarchy, dehumanization, guard, warden, prisoner, corruption, rape, learned helplessness, and institutionalized.

To relate “The Shawshank Redemption” to class, we can look at the beginning of the movie where Andy is in a courtroom. Andy is acting as the defendant and giving his account of what happened the night his wife and her lover were shot to death at the man’s home. The prosecutor has strong evidence against Andy, in which he has bullets from a 38 caliber pistol with his finger prints on them, foot prints, tire tracks, and a smashed bottle of brandy. This all relates to chapter 4 which is about forensic identification. Forensic identification is the process of linking a piece of physical trace evidence to an individual. The prints found on the bullets are called latent prints. Andy confesses that he was drinking the night the murder took place, but told the judge and jury that he was starting to sober up and drove back home and threw his gun in the river, but it was never found. The judge and jury find him guilty for two accounts of murder and is sentenced to serve two life sentences.

This movie also relates to chapter 16 of our textbook, corrections: sentencing, imprisonment, and alternatives. After Andy is sentenced to his double life sentence, he is transferred to Shawshank Prison. Jails are short-term holding cells operated by cities, and the people who are sentenced there are usually only there for less than a year. In the movies case, a prison holds convicted criminals for longer periods of time. Most people who are held in prisons usually stay until their death or until they are put on death row and execution. Andy is in the prison at the beginning of the 50’s, and in this time period prisons were keen on using physical force to get the inmates to comply with orders. It seems that Shawshank’s main goals is incapacitation and rehabilitation. Every ten years, convicted felons go under review of a board to see if they are totally rehabilitated. According to our book, during the late 60’s, there was a growing concern about the brutality and ineffectiveness of prisons. The prison scene also portrays the psychological effects that the prisoners must go through. When Andy spends two straight months in the “hole”, he recalls being all alone, and just talking to himself through his mind. Prisons like these make use of isolations to punish and teach them a lesson. These prisons are essential to the criminal justice system, but become increasingly expensive over time, which is why the Warden has Andy do all of the taxes and get them tax-free money. Prisons have changed greatly over time, and the prison shown in this movie isn’t in use any more because of the creation of prisoner rights, and a code of conduct that prisoner guards must follow and abide by.

Shawshank Redemption also relates to chapter 17 of our text book, The Death Penalty. Andy was not sentenced to death row, but was sentenced to two life terms, but this chapter talks a lot about how there are errors and mistakes in death penalty cases and life terms. Andy was wrongly accused of the murder of his wife and her lover, and would now spend the rest of his life in prison. The only way that Andy could prove his innocence was through a newly acquired inmate who told him of one of his old cellmates who said he had committed a murder that sounded just like Andy’s case. The warden needed Andy to stay around because he was laundering money for the prison. The book talks about how the use of DNA has become increasingly helpful to solving crimes in which someone has been wrongly convicted. In the movies case, this is unavailable because of the time period, but if DNA had been available Andy probably would have been acquitted of the charges if there were some sort of DNA left at the crime scene by the real criminal.

Overall, this movie shows the psychological effects that the inmates deal with from day to day. Prisoners go through daily beatings from guards if they do not follow directions, or if they look like them wrong. The prison mates can get so lonely that the reside in anything that can keep them company. In Andy’s case, he has posters of good-looking movie stars. The old librarian, Brooks, has a pet bird that he has taken care of since it was young. All in all, prison inmates are pushed to their breaking point every day because they are not free men, and are shown no type of freedom while inside the prison walls.

Key terms: defendant, prosecutor, evidence, forensic identification, physical trace evidence, judge, jury, latent prints, prison, jails, incapacitation, rehabilitation, isolation, warden, DNA, death penalty,

So this week the movie was Shawshank Redemption. A very critically acclaimed phenomenal movie. The movie takes place back in the late 1940s to the late 1960s. Andy , a banker, is convicted of murdering his wife as well as her lover. The prosecution has only circumstantial evidence but it is heavily in the favor of the prosecution as Andy freely admits that he had a gun, ammo and wanted to kill her. However, at the last minute he decided not to and threw his gun in the river. The evidence would show they couldn’t find that gun, but they did have his footprints, tire prints, and his bullets at the scene of the crime. One thing I noticed in the movie is that they used a gun as evidence but claimed they couldn’t find his. Which if im not mistaken would not be allowed in courts today. Andy is sentenced to serving back to back life in prisons without a chance of parole.
Andy comes to Shawshank Prison, where a bunch of inmates are betting on which of the new meat would break and start crying first. Red, who is a contraband seller bets on andy, while another inmate bets on a fat guy. That night all the inmates try to make the new guys crack which eventually the fat guy does. The captain comes in drags the fat guy out and beats him to prove a point to the rest of the prison. The man dies before morning. Andy is now subjected to the psychological and physical aspect of what he has to look forward to in prison for the rest of his life.
Andy begins a friendship with Red first by asking him to procure a rock hammer for Andy. With the rock hammer he can start to sculpt things out of the rock and eventually makes a chess set. Andy is also set to work in laundry where he is assaulted by the sisters. A group of individuals who like to rape prisoners. So again Andy is subjected to more physical and psychological torment. We have also read in our book how big of a problem rape was in prison and how different prisons have taken steps to recude the amount of rape done in prison.
During a detail on the roof of one of the buildings a situation arises and Andy is able to help out the captain with a inheritance problem that he was having since Andy was a banker before hand. He gets the men working with him a few beers as they finish the job. After this Andy is attacked again by the sisters and is beaten within an inch of his life. Hadley then severely beats the leader of the gang and paralyzes him. Andy is never attacked again. This moment to any prisoner would be a huge release of stress because you wouldn’t have to worry about getting raped anymore. In the movie red even says something about how if it had continued Andy might not have made it.
Shortly after helping the captain with his inheritance Andy is moved to the library as an assistant to Brooks, an old man that has been in prison for 50 years. This is just a pretext though from the warden so that Andy could help out with finances around the prison. During this time as well he starts writing congress for funding for the library. Shortly after this Brooks is released from prison. But because he has been in prison for 50 years he cant cope with life outside of prison and hangs himself. He writes a letter to the gang back in prison and they essentially know what he had done. Shortly after this Congress gives some money and different donations for the library. Andy plays a record over the intercom and gets solitary confinement for it. Afterwards he speaks with red about having hope and that was something that prison could never take away. Red dismisses the idea however. Interesting to think about that most prisoners im sure lose hope when they are in prison and that is when they could hang themselves or essentially give up. In the movie Andy never gives up which is why he is psychologically able to beat the system. In 1965 a kid named Tommy is incarcerated for burglary. Shortly after this Andy starts teaching him so he can get his GED. Red explains to Tommy what andy was in for and Andy recognizes the crime as he had met someone who had described the exact same scenario to him. They tell Andy this and he goes to the Warden with the knowledge. The Warden denounces the claim and throws andy in solitary confinement for a month. During this time the warden has Tommy killed under the guise of a prison break. This is the breaking point for Andy and him and Red have a talk the day he gets out of solitary confinement. Red notices that he is not well and that he looks like he is going crazy. Andy mentions a place he would like to go if he did get out and tells red if he ever gets released to go find a rock by a tree. Inside the rock will be something special. That night Red explains was the longest night he has had in prison as he fears Andy will kill himself. Com morning though it shows that Andy has escaped. The warden finds a tunnel that he had made in his cell using his rock hammer. Andy crawled through it then through 500 yards of sewer line to break out. Andy then goes to each of the banks he had been laundering money to for the warden and collects the money before setting of to mexico. The warden who is now under arrest for the crimes committed at the prison kills himself. Red is released after 40 years in prison and does as Andy asks. He finds the Treasure and makes his way down to Mexico to join his old friend.
So this is an interesting movie in many different ways. It shows that life in prison is very harsh. At one point Red says prison isn’t a fairy tale when describing Andy being raped by the Sisters. Not only that but we can relate to the sadistic corrupt guards through the experiment done at Stanford. In real life though it is shown that many guards are corrupt just as many people in the gvt and many people in military are. It just seems to be people in a position of power seek to abuse that power. The warden is a prime example of this as well. He claims that jesus and god guide his hand, but he commits murders and squanders money for the 20 years that Andy is there. To point out something that is odd, I wouldn’t imagine that a Warden would be there for 20 years. That seems like a long time for me. Then we have the case of andy himself who never loses hope despite the fact he is convicted of a crime he never did. For 20 years he plans his escape just waiting for the right time. Despite being psychologically and physically tormented throughout these 20 years he somehow manages to hang on to his sanity. Which if you look at the psychologically of locking someone up for the rest of their life. I cant imagine the amount of stress and psychological impact that would have on someones mind. Red is a character who knew he did his crime and was what appeared actually sorry for it. Despite this he gets rejected each time at his hearings. He talks about an interesting thing called being institutionilised. He speaks of Brooks being it first. When you are in Prison so long you cant remember how to function in the outside world or you are incapable of doing so. A lot of criminals now a days will commit a crime to be put right back in prison because of this very reason and because life in prison for the most part now is not that bad. Red eventually becomes institutionlised and realized this upon being released. He debates going back to prison but before he does he does good on his promise. Im actually very surprised that in his circumstance back in the time period that he wouldn’t have been put to death seeing as it was capitol murder.
It was completely different watching this movie from a legal and psychological aspect instead of just watching it regularly but it is just a goldmine for psychological and legal factuals.

I have never seen The Shawshank Redemption before, due to my first time seeing the movie I only had time to see the first hour. Within that first hour I saw several psychological factors. The first psychological aspect I recognized in the film was biopsychology. The main character, Andy Dufrene, was on trial for killing his wife and her lover. The movie opens up with his trial, and he is on the witness stand being questioned by the prosecution. While he is being questioned he tells the court how he had recently been in a fight with his wife, and she was leaving him for another man. Right there the prosecution pointed out that he had motive to kill his wife and her lover. As he, Dufrene, went on about the events he did that night he had mentioned he had been drinking. Alcohol could play a role of a substance that impaired Dufrene’s thinking and actions. I believe this is where the biopsychology is represented in the film. Being under the influence of a substance could have altered his memory about what happened that night, and this is where the alcohol substance also can be shown as cognitive psychology. The alcohol in his system could have manipulated his memory believe something else happened like throwing the gun in the river. Another psychological aspect is social psychology. Even though I did not see the whole movie I would assume that social psychology is shown throughout the movie because Dufrene is making connection with the inmates and the officers. When Dufrene offers to help the officer claim his full inheritance he asks for one thing in return that is beer for his friends. In this scene the audience sees a bond that is starting to grow between Dufrene and the other inmates. As time goes on Dufrene also gains a connection with the officers. Because he is good at financial advice he starts to help the officers with all sorts of things, like college funds and mostly taxes. The relationship between Dufrene and officers is starting to be seen. Speaking of growing relationship developmental psychology is seen throughout the movie as well. In the beginning when Dufrene is sent to prison he stays to himself. I’m guessing he believes that if he keeps to himself then no one would cause trouble with him. After a month goes by he finally talks to Red, Morgan Freeman’s character. Red is known around the prison for the man who knows how to get things. Dufrene finally talks to Red because he needs a rock pick. After he starts talking to Red he then begins to socialize with other inmates, those that are in Red’s circle. So the audience sees a development of friendship occurring. The audience also sees the development of Dufrene adapting to the prison life. Another psychological aspect would be sensation. The old man who worked in the book store, well Dufrene was moved to the library section of the prison and he started wondering how come the warden decided to have him work there. The audience and Dufrene suspected something was up when only one person, the old man, had worked alone all those years in the library. Once Dufrene noticed something was up I became skeptical also. It turned out Brooks was leaving the prison. His time was up, his sentence was served. Brooks was scared to leave the prison because that is all he knew, prison life. He served 50 years in the prison and he was afraid of the outside world, so afraid he was about to murder another inmate just to stay in prison. This was a representation of cognitive psychology. The fact that he was going to real world, well not prison world, frightened him. His emotions got the best of him. His emotions and thoughts about how it would be started to manipulate his thinking and he came to the only conclusion that he had to commit murder in order to stay.

Terms: Biopsychology, Social Psychology, Trial, Prosecution, Defendant, Murder, Cognitive, Developmental

My roommate and I both agree Shawshank Redemption is one of the best movies we’ve seen in a while. I really enjoyed the plot and how the characters progressed throughout the story, and the ending totally caught me off guard! Great movie.

Because this was set in a prison for basically the entire movie, there’s a lot that can be seen that relates directly to our textbook. But first, I wanted to really quickly discuss the trial. We can see the prosecutor is questioning the defendant, in this case, Andy. He discusses the trace evidence found at the scene and how Andy has a clear motive for murder. To me, it seems like a really open and shut case. It would have been interesting to sit in on the trial and hear the defense attorney, but apparently he wasn’t very good if he wasn’t able to put reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind. But I guess Andy was close to the house at the time of the murder, had the motive, and had a weapon, so it’s no wonder the jury sentenced him to two life sentences.

The textbook discusses four main goals of prison, which we can see demonstrated in the movie. The first goal is incapacitation. This is basically just containing the prisoners, so they can do no more harm to society. Some, like Brooks, have been there many years, demonstrating the justice’s system’s attempt to incapacitate prisoners (he must’ve been convicted of a pretty bad crime if he served a 50 year prison sentence).

The second goal is deterrence. The justice system is hoping that the experiences a prisoner has while serving his sentence are so horrible, that he or she is deterred from any more crimes because they fear going back to prison. In a way, I can see how this can occur, because men get raped, assaulted, and lose all of their freedom. For certain men, like the overweight man in the beginning of the movie, prison works great as a deterrent (if he wouldn’t have died). However, some men, generally repeat offenders or criminals serving long sentences, are used to the prison life. We can see this in Brooks as his parole was up. He had difficulty adjusting to society and considered committing a crime to be sent back to jail. With a record like his, it’s hard to get a good job; plus, he had to family to take care of him. So in some ways, prison may work as a deterrent, but in other ways, it does not.

I just wanted to discuss general deterrence really quick, because I felt like this movie helped to convey it. This is the process of creating fear of prison so everyday people will be less likely to commit crimes. This movie has made me never even want to jaywalk every again. Prison looks terrible!

The third goal is retribution, which isn’t seen much in the movie. This is more for victims or people in society. Because the criminal broke the law, everyone wants to make sure he or she is punished appropriately. This is achieved by sending the criminal to prison, a.k.a. retribution. I’m sure friends and family of Andy’s wife and her lover wanted retribution for the two murders.

Lastly, there’s rehabilitation. We can see a little of this in Shawshank Redemption, but there’s very little success with it. Rehabilitation is the attempt to “fix” prisoners, so they are less likely to fall to victim to recidivism, meaning commit another crime and be sent back to prison. We can see this when new prisoners are marched into Shawshank. The warden gives them a bible in the hopes that they will find God and never commit a crime again. However, this doesn’t seem to work among inmates. We definitely see rehabilitation occurring in Red though, not through religion, but from regret. However, even though prisoners may be fully “fixed,” this may not stop recidivism. Prison release seems to set the criminals up for failure, so I can see why many end up getting arrested again.

Last thing I wanted to discuss: we can see prizonization occurring with the inmates. New criminals being brought into the prison immediately start to get the feel for this new lifestyle and adapt. We see this in the movie, because Andy soon learns about the gang that wants to assault him, makes friends with Red and his crew, and learns who to talk to in order to get cigarettes, things smuggled in, etc. Prizonization is different for each criminal too - some want to stay out of trouble and serve their sentence quietly, while others have accepted their prison lifestyle and want to establish a certain reputation.

Key Terms: Prosecutor, Defendant, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Incapacitation, Deterrence, General Deterrence, Retribution, Rehabilitation, Recidivism, Prizonization

I had never watched this movie before and I loved it! It was so interesting to watch from the point of view of this class. Right away the movie began to express psychological and legal aspects. While Andy was in the court room the types of questions the prosecution asked were very one-sided and they painted a picture of how Andy committed the crime. Everything pointed to him therefore he was sent to life in prison. It was shocking to see what happened once he got to Shawshank. The guards treated the inmates horribly, at least worse than I expected. They humiliated the inmates by making them shower in front of everyone and walking to their cells naked. They basically made them feel like a number that is stuck there for a period of time, and the guards made sure the new inmates would cooperate. This made me think about the Stanford prison experiment. As the guards and inmates were treated very similarly to the guards and inmates in the movie. The guards in the movie took their role very serious and they felt psychological and physical abuse were acceptable means of punishment. Prisonization is the assimilation of new inmates into the values, norms, and language of the prison. This is what the new inmates had to adapt to once they were put in their cells. Nobody told them what to do or how to act; they were expected to figure it out themselves. Therefor expressing how violent the atmosphere of the prison was.

I was surprised to see that none of the inmates had contact with their friends or family. They didn’t even write letters home or receive letters. This expresses the idea discussed in the text that prisons are harsh and how their lives change in three major ways. First there are banished from the outside world, and this causes them to lose contact with their family and friends. Second they had no decision making power, anytime they wanted to do anything they had to ask. And third the overall environment of prison is very dark and oppressive therefore impacting their personality and how they feel. All three of these ideas were expressed when the elderly man was released from prison. He didn’t know what to do or where to go in the real world because for so long he was stuck in one place doing the same thing every day.

Right away Andy became a favorite of a gang that abused the inmates. It was disgusting to see what they would do and how nobody would help him, as the guards had to have some idea of what was going on. However according to the text officials become less likely to respond to complaints of prisoners who are physically or sexually abused by other prisoners, basically because they outnumber the guards or the guards simply do not care. This caused Andy to have to fend for himself and to watch his back more than some of the other inmates. The abuse had to of affected Andy psychologically. The movie expressed that during his first two years he was very distraught, depressed and kept to himself. It appeared that he was trying to figure out where he stands and what to do. Every time he saw the gang the amount of fear that took over was frightening. Therefore this experience impacted his mental health greatly because he was being abused and there was nothing he could do except try and fight back.

Toward the end of the movie one of the characters was released on parole after he served thirty years of his sentence. According to the text parole refers to releasing inmates form prison under the supervision of a parole officer before their entire sentence has been served. Once he was a free man the prison took him to a residential community corrections center, or a halfway house. According to the text this is where groups of offenders live in a communal environment and attend some form of group therapy. In the movie the halfway house allowed the man to have a job in hopes of getting him back on his feet. I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to be released into a world that you have not really been part of for thirty years.

It was shocking and disturbing to see how the inmates were treated; I would hope that some of the scenarios do not happen in our prisons because they were not right. I do not think prison inmates should be treated equally to people who are free, however it is not humane to do some of the things that happened in the movie. For example the very first night one of the new inmates was distraught and the guards beat him to death. Therefore I think it would be very beneficial if there was a type of therapy offered to the inmates in hope of them changing and learning how to deal with their situation. Also as the text states if therapy is used and if the inmates are taught new skills it is likely that recidivism will be reduced.

Overall I thought this movie was really interesting and expressed several psychological and legal aspects.

Terms: prosecution, prison, Stanford prison experiment, prisonization, harshness of prison life, gangs, mental health, psychological abuse, physical abuse, parole, residential community corrections center, therapy, recidivism,

Prior to class I had heard of this movie of course, but I had never seen it. Many individuals make it sound like it is an incredibly good film but I just did not see what all of the hype was about. But putting my personal opinion aside I can see why this film was chosen for us to analyze. Throughout this movie there were many examples of how prison effects the human psyche.
In the movie, psychological issues are showed and portrayed by the different characters Andy encounters in prison. A psychological issue that the prison emits on these inmates is an issue of self-identity, motivation and freedom. I have to say that a person's psyche changes after he is kept confined for a time period without freedom (his right to be free). This causes the imamates and Andy to strive for it; Shawshank Redemption shows a lot of this in many scenes. After being falsely accused of murdering his wife; protagonist Andy Dufresne is sent to Shawshank prison in Portland. Being put in prison has a tremendous effect on Andy, he struggles to overcome many obstacles in order to achieve is goal of freedom. Taking place in the 1940's, the high security prison basically isolates Andy from the outside world. This isolation can cause people to adopt the traits of a man that has just been "stripped from freedom/rights". He would struggle in his own way to survive the hardships, just like in any prison in the present day. I find it like a "survival of the fittest" along with Darwinism theme. Where you have to adapt to survive. Being put in a prison, can be related (in my own opinion) as being placed in a locked school area. Where no one can leave and you do not learn anything besides chores; occasionally entertainment. This leads me to believe that being in a confined area (prison) makes you find who you really are; survival instincts. Andy is trying to find his place in prison while trying to seek freedom. Andy beings to cope with the hardships in prison life. The prison system back then and now is almost the exact same, people make groups and there are alliances/rivals among each other. There is one part of the movie where Andy is placed in solitary confinement, a prison with in the prison (prison-ception), this pushes him further into digging for freedom. He later does this with the help of a hammer in the bible. I find it funny how the bible; a religious text, usually helps people find their inner-self and to change when confined from freedom. He used religion to "dig" his way out of the prison.

All in all I was surprised by the amount of psychological aspects that could be further looked into. One specific point in the movie that caught my attention was when the inmates were first brought into the prison and they were to strip down and be sprayed by a hose and have delousing powder thrown on them. I believe that this small act creates a conflict within the new inmates psyche. He was previously free but the guards doing this do them put into place the idea that they were lesser individuals and that their freedom had surely been stripped from them.

We can obviously see that in this movie there are a bunch of things that match up to various chapters in our text book, but which chapters to really focus on is the tough question that I am faced with.

Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife and her on side lover. From this very important scene in the movie where he is sentenced we can look in our books at chapter 16 where we have learned about corrections, sentencing, and imprisonment. When we read chapter 16 we read about controllability whether or not a person was able to control their behavior. We also looked at different types of imprisonment, in Andy’s case he was sent to a prison for life and not just for a random long period of time. I guess we could say that he was going to be looking forward to dying in his prison cell. The prison decided to keep Andy locked up just to make sure he was not going to act upon anyone in society again like he did to his wife and her lover. This would be the simple goal of incapacitation.

With him being locked up in a regular prison he had no choice but to sit there and rot, but what he did on his spare time because he was such a great banker before the incident happened with his wife, he decided to start doing the warden’s and the guards taxes for them. While this happened he was gaining something else besides the gratification of him doing his job before imprisonment, he was gaining someone else’s identity and becoming someone new so he could escape and live a new life; this was going to be a fresh start for good ole Andy. We all knew what he was up to, but did everyone else that was behind bars? The only person who really knew what he was up to was Red, Red was waiting for him on the outside.

We all know that Andy had done the dirty deed of killing his wife and her lover and we could see by looking through chapter 8 and 9 that Andy was competent to stand his trial and he was definitely not insane to even try and get the insanity plea put against him. He was perfectly sane and he knew what he was doing that night his wife was murdered. I guess we could say that things were a little bit on the premeditated side? If something is premeditated that means the deed was planned and thought about before the incident had happened which Andy clearly did. Could he have gotten a mens rea defense, in his case I do not think he could have, he was clearly capable of knowing what was wrong.

We clearly could see that Andy had no mental issues though; he was a perfectly educated male who had succeeded in his career so we could see that he would not have needed a cognitive test to figure out whether he knew what he did was right or wrong because clearly he could distinguish between the two. In the beginning of the movie when Andy murdered his wife and her lover he was clearly under the influence of alcohol which does mean that his judgment was impaired, does this make him any less guilty, in my eyes because what he did was kind of premeditated that he understood what he was doing. I keep leading to the idea that he knew what he was doing because that is a major key in court. If he knew what he was doing then obviously he had no issue with brain power. His life was coming to an end with him finding out about his wife cheating on him so he had to stop it by killing both of them. He knew he would get put in prison for his careless actions.

KEY TERMS: Incapacitation, Controllability, Imprisonment, Premeditated, Competent, Insane, Insanity Plea, Cognitive Test, Mens Rea Defense, Court, Guilty

Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies and the first movie we have watched this semester that I actually own. The movie is about the conviction and sentencing of Andy Dufresne for the murder of his wife and her lover. The twist is that although the evidence seems to point to Andy killing these two, he is innocent. During the short section of the movie at the beginning involving his trial, the prosecution doesn’t seem to have any strong evidence linking Andy to the case, such as fingerprints on the gun in question. The prosecution seems to rely completely on a motive for Andy and only brings up evidence such as his smashed bottle of liquor near the place his wife and her lover were murdered. Since they established a motive and have some evidence placing him near the crime scene at some point that night, they believe it is enough to convict Andy. Despite this weak evidence, Andy is sentenced to serve two life sentences in Shawshank State Prison. In Shawshank, Andy befriends an inmate named Red and does much to improve the conditions for the inmates serving their time in Shawshank over the course of his sentence, before finally escaping at the end of the movie.

The strongest connection between the material covered in our book and the movie is in chapter 16, involving the corrections system itself. This connection is obvious due to the fact that the majority of the movie takes place in a prison. Upon Andy entering Shawshank, Red is shown before a parole board. Red is up for parole after serving 20 years of his life sentence. Later on, in Red’s 30th year of incarceration and another parole hearing, it is shown that he says the same thing each time in order to stay in prison. His reasoning is addressed later on in my discussion about institutionalization. Shortly after settling in, Andy asks Red to get him a rock hammer. This shows a glimpse of how the economy works in the prison, with cigarettes act as the main currency and exchange hands at every point in the acquisition of Andy’s hammer. Shortly after this, Andy is raped by 3 other inmates. This happens a few times, showing how harsh prison life can be and how the culture differs within the corrections system when compared to the outside. Violence between prisoners and even the guards is shown a few times throughout the movie. The guards are shown to often beat prisoners in order to gain compliance or to teach them a lesson. At one point in the movie the warden even has a guard shoot one of the prisoners.

After Andy gets transferred to work in the small library with Brooks, he ends up doing the taxes for some of the guards. As time goes on, Andy does the taxes for all of the guards, including the warden and also gives legal advice. One day, Brooks attacks another inmate that Andy and his group are friends with. Brooks does this because he is upset that he was granted parole. Brooks has been in prison for a long time and doesn’t think he can make it on the outside. Red says that Brooks has been institutionalized and wouldn’t make it on the outside. Once Brooks gets out of prison, this fear overcomes him so much that he ends up committing suicide because life seems so hopeless to him. Many of the prisoners feel this way and it is even shown how difficult Red has it at the end of the movie once he is granted parole. This is a serious issue that has been addressed more and more in recent times with the rehabilitation stance of incarceration. It is important to prepare prisoners like Brooks or Red for their release back into normal society.

Overall, Shawshank Redemption is a great movie and does a good job showing the experiences that a prisoner might have in the corrections system. I enjoy it every time I watch it and being classes such as this one have made me appreciate it even more, as I can now compare the events displayed in the movie to what I have learned.

Overall, I really loved this movie (mostly because I adore Morgan Freeman), but mainly because it gives a pretty accurate portrayal of prison life. I found this movie had many different psychological aspects integrated into it that I had never noticed before I watched it with a psychological analysis thought process.
The first thing about this movie that I noticed was at the very beginning of the movie. Andy is seen getting out of his car after drinking alcohol. He drops the bottle he had been drinking out of as well as the bullets he was trying to put into his gun. When he was cross examined in his trial, the prosecutor states that investigators found the alcohol bottle and the bullets with his fingerprints on them. With the movie set in 1947, I was questionable about if this was accurate and it is. This is a good example of how fingerprinting was used in trials beginning in 1901. The fingerprints that are found on evidence are known as latent prints.
Another psychological aspect that I noticed was how the prosecutor mentioned that the person who killed Andy’s wife and the man she was having an affair with, shot them so many times they had to reload the gun and shoot them one more time each. This shows the characteristics of both an organized and disorganized crime. The movie never states whether Andy was innocent or guilty. However, the movie portrays him to be guilty in the beginning only to change in the middle when another man admits to killing his wife. The organized crime characteristics are shown when Andy is drinking (and waiting) in his car and then gets out with his gun. The viewers do not know where he is going, but can assume that he is planning to kill his wife, because he knows she is with another man. Another characteristic of organized crimes is the fact that the murderer put another round of bullets into the gun and shot the victims 1 more time. Assuming Andy did kill his wife, the only characteristic of a disorganized crime was the passion behind it. In trial the prosecutor stated that eyewitnesses heard Andy and his wife arguing only hours before her death.
Another huge psychological aspect that was made quite obvious in the movie was how inmates can become institutionalized after serving long sentences in prisons. This was shown when Brooks tried to assault one of his friends because he did not want to leave. He had become so accustomed to the prison life in the 50 years he had been there, he was afraid he would not be able to live on his own in society. Brooks had also gained a status in prison, one that when he lived in the outside world, did not exist. When he was sent home on parole, he was given a place to work and was allowed to live in the halfway house, or a residential community corrections center, until he was able to get back on his feet. However, after a period of time that was not stated in the movie, Brooks committed suicide. This is still a current issue with today’s correctional facilities. Halfway houses are meant to ease the transition from prison back to “normal everyday life”. However, they do not. This was also shown in the book Orange is the New Black. Piper discusses the courses that are required for inmates to take before they are allowed to leave. However, Piper stated that if she did not have a great support group on the outside, she would have no knowledge of what to do. Unfortunately a lot of inmates who are in prison do not have a support system to go back to. This situation is part of as to why 67% of inmates who are released into society are rearrested and put back into jail within three years.
Keywords: Trial, prosecutor, latent prints, organized and disorganized crimes, parole, halfway house, and recidivism

Shawshank Redemption is a movie that I have seen many times before in the past and it is actually one of my favorite movies. Many different things stood out to me as I was watching the film, but there are certain topics that I think stand out above the others. First there was the treatment of the prisoners as they were entering Shawshank. The way that they were marched in to the prison in a line chained to each other instantly made me thing of the Stanford Prison experiment. That was almost exactly how the experiment participants were brought into their “prison” for the experiment. In the film, after they entered the prison, they were stripped down and hosed. The individuals in the experiment were stripped down as well. After they were stripped in the movie, they were then paraded down to their cells, still naked. Just as I discussed in my blog about the SP experiment, humiliation was a huge part of what they were trying to accomplish in the beginning of the experiment. The men in the film were dehumanized and humiliated in the exact same way in order to break down their psyche. In both instances, the goal was to strip them of any confidence or sense of self that they may have had in order to make them the ideal prisoner who obeys without hesitation. If they feel comfortable in any way, then they will be harder to mold into the kind of prisoner that they want (at least that is what the idea seems to be for the prison staff and the experimenters).
The beginning of the film also got my attention because it started with the prosecutor cross-examining Andy in regards to what happened the night of the double murder. The fact that the prosecution had no hard evidence to indicate that Andy was the perpetrator was interesting to me. They had fingerprints on a few different pieces of evidence, which would in fact indicate that Andy was outside of the house where the crime took place, and he was, but there was nothing that could place him inside of the house and at the crime scene. There was no such thing as DNA evidence during the time period in which this film took place, but there were no fingerprints inside the home or anywhere past the broken alcohol bottle that was found outside by where his car was parked. There was only circumstantial evidence in this case, and you can’t help but wonder what went through the juror’s minds when they were making their decision. Could it have been the power of the prosecution and the way they decided to present their case? Or could any of the jurors been biased in some way towards Andy that would cause them to come back so easily with such a severe sentence? It’s hard to say, but these kinds of cases do sadly take place too often. On a related note, this case was not a death penalty case in the film but it easily could have been given a different time period or different circumstances. If the jury had decided so easily that he was guilty in a capital case, and I do believe that they would have, it would be a prime example of convicting an innocent person for a crime they didn’t commit and putting them to death for it. Just as stated previously, he is not faced with the death penalty in this film but he could have just as easily been in a real life situation of the same sort, and we see too many people sentenced to life in prison or death based on circumstantial evidence or eyewitness misidentifications. This is an example of how our justice system fails us and is putting the wrong people behind bars simply because the prosecution gets on path and doesn’t want to deviate from it, even if they have a feeling that their suspect is innocent. This makes me think that more time needs to be spent exploring other options when there is even the slightest chance that the person being tried is not the right person. This doesn’t mean that they need to stop investigating the person if they truly feel they are the perpetrator, but I feel they owe to everyone involved to make sure they are right before taking such drastic measures such as life in prison or even worse, death.
I think that psychology is strongly related to this film. It was extremely clear to me as I was watching this film that the psychological toll prison can take on someone is immense. This was portrayed in a few different ways. First, there was the scene when a new inmate starts crying for his mom and the guard pulls him out of his cell and beats him to death. It’s blatantly obvious that this inmate was struggling psychologically with adapting to the prison life on his first night. I’m sure that every inmate would struggle on their first night, assuming that it wasn’t their first time in prison. But this inmate outwardly made it known that he was having a hard time, and that is a mistake that should not be made if you want to live an enjoyable life while locked up. I am unable to guess how long it takes for the average inmate to finally adapt and accept that this is what their life will be like for however long they are sentenced, but I am assuming that it takes a fair amount of time. This is a lot to ask of us as humans and it would undoubtedly affect you psychologically. I feel that it would be psychologically exhausting for inmates even after they start adapting as well. You never know what to expect while in prison, and this would be even worse for inmates who are not the “top dogs” who run everything. Being your Average Joe inmate would have it’s up’s and down’s. You keep to yourself and don’t draw a lot of attention for the most part, but you are also an easy target and that would cause a lot of daily stress knowing this. I also think that it would wear you down psychologically if you were to be released from prison after a lengthy sentence. This is portrayed in the film with the elderly inmate named Brooks being released after a 50-year sentence. He explains how he can’t keep up with the fast-paced world and doesn’t know how to fit in with society. He became very comfortable with his life in prison and was unable to cope with the immense changes that accompanied his release. This is an aspect of the film that I think was very accurate and will continue to be a psychological issue forever. If someone is locked up for that long and is expected to know how to survive in the outside world, then they are bound to fail unless they are receiving lots of help. This scene in the film ends with Brooks committing suicide, and this is unfortunately accurate in many ways as well. Release from prison is not something that all prisoners look forward to, some dread it instead. When it comes down to it, prison can psychologically effect the inmates in many different ways. This can range from the day they enter to the day they die in some cases.

Terms: cross-examination, prosecution, defendant, jury, Stanford Prison experiment, psychology, death penalty, DNA evidence, circumstantial evidence, prison

Shawshank Redemption is my favorite movie I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing. So when it was this week’s film that we had to relate to class, I jumped at the chance to watch it! The topics from chapters 16 and 17 are heavily featured in this film and one of the first things I’ll bring up from chapter 16 was the prison life style. Even before arriving at Shawshank, Andy has to deal with what I thought was bias. He was very unemotional which didn’t help him with the judge as (I infer anyway) made him look remorseless. So by calling him “Evil” (which I’m sure the press ate up) it starts coloring the opinion of himself and how others looks at him. When they arrive at the prison the walk is filled with jeering of other inmates calling out fish, which of course would be rather unsettling. After words they’re forced into strip search and disinfectant shower to add humiliation on top of the fact that they have no choices anymore. They can’t decide when to eat, sleep or do anything themselves anymore. This is done to break their morale and make them manageable and to get them to conform to their rule. The next thing would be the gang life (and by association violence) in prison. Andy for about the first 1/3 of the movie is hounded by a gang called the sisters, who rape and beat him very harshly. Andy of course is very quiet and takes it until one day after nearly being raped; he threatens/ implies he’ll bite it off. He is then beaten and is hospitalized. Unfortunately what Boggs doesn’t know is that Andy has formed what I wouldn’t call a truce with the head guard Hadley, but a relationship where Hadley has uses for Andy. So in retaliation the guard beats Boggs so severely he is paralyzed!
Speaking of Andy’s use to the guard from helping them with the tax evasion brings up another part of prison life, which is the whole finding your place. Normally this is within a gang but in the case of the film it’s more like a small community. Red is the guy that knows how to get things, and essentially a store owner while Andy is a tax expert and helps the guards with their taxes (and the Warden with committing tax fraud). Then there’s the older man Brooks who is the librarian before Andy is who pushes the book cart around. Red sums it up best saying that anyone for a length of time becomes institutionalized. They become so use to being in the prison and the positions they hold amongst the prisoners that they don’t want to leave like Brooks. That reason being is they don’t have a life on the outside, by the time they’ll be out they’ll be old and wrinkled and have no important. Maslow created something called the hierarchy of needs, which are the needs with what we need to achieve self actualization or a fulfilling life in simple terms. Once the prisoners become “settled” in to prison life they in a sense achieve that. They receive food, water and shelter. They are usually safe as long as they avoid enraging the guards or a fellow inmate, they may not form love but they have close friendships and they feel needed by whatever position they have in the prison by their fellow prisoners.
To sum this up I believe that the one thing that kept Andy from being institutionalized was the fact that he was never broken, he always knew he wasn’t guilty and I think that it helped with the plot of the movie that the underdog beats the villain and makes the perfect getaway. As far as class is related this movie is the perfect example for what happens in a prison
Bias, Maslow, Hierarchy of Needs, Conformity, Prison life

Shawshank Redemption is a fantastic movie that portrays life in prison. Prisons are an essential component of our criminal justice system. Prisons hold convicted criminals for long periods of time. Shawshank was the prison in this film, and many of the characters were sentenced to life in prison. This film contained many incidences of cruel and unusual punishment. One prisoner was beat to death by guards on his first night at Shawshank, simply for crying in his cell. The main character, Andy, was forced to stay in solitary confinement for two straight months. In this case, Andy had not done anything wrong; the warden used it as a warning method to Andy about the financial schemes he had knowledge of. One particular guard used a metal “stick” to beat any prisoner who did not follow procedure. In 1981, in the case of Rhodes v. Chapman, the Court suggested that as long as conditions were not “grossly disproportionate to the severity of the crime” and not “totally without penological justification,” they would not be viewed as “cruel and unusual.” The Court considered this part of the penalty that criminal offenders pay for their offenses against society. In 1991, in the case of Wilson v. Seiter, the Court said that for punishment to be judged cruel and unusual, conditions would not only have to be inhumane, but officials would need to show deliberate indifference to those inhumane conditions. Shawshank Redemption is only a fictional movie, but when analyzing the punishment used, it is easy to see it would considered cruel and unusual. The fact that one prisoner was serving time for murder does not give the guards justification to murder him themselves. Forcing Andy to two months of solitary confinement was certainly not justified. The guard using his metal stick was less to punish and more to deter other prisoners from disobeying rules and procedures. For all punishment, it was obvious that the guards and the warden were deliberately indifferent to the inhumane conditions. Rape between inmates was another horrific problem of the Shawshank Prison. Before 2003, the Court held that inmates would be required to prove “subjective recklessness” on the part of prison officials, when trying to prove rape between inmates. In 2003, Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act to conduct research and develop a strategy for solving the crime of rape against prisoners.

Aside from harsh punishment, prison life is extremely different from life on the outside. The prisoner is separated from the people and surrounding they care about and typically lose touch with most all family and friends. In Shawshank Redemption, we never once saw visitors come to the prison. Prisoners have no decision-making power and quickly lose their sense of autonomy. The film showed that the prisoners typically had no decision on what they can eat, where they work, when they go to sleep, when they wake up. On the occasion that a movie was shown, they had no influence on what movie it was. They associated with only fellow prisoners, and typically spent time with 5-8 inmates in their group. Outside of the building, they had one bare field in which to go. There is also an extreme lack of privacy. Prisoners showered together, ate together, went outside together, worked together, etc. They all had their own rooms, but were able to talk to and hear each other through the barred walls. In addition, the guards could observe them at all times. There really was no privacy whatsoever. The threat and reality of violence is constant. Prisoners were constantly harassed by guards and other prisoners. Red immediately told Andy that he needed to “grow eyes in the back of his head.” Homosexual rape is often used to demean and dominate other inmates. Andy was harassed for the first two years by a particular inmate and his 2-3 friends who helped. Prison is also characterized by relentless, deadening routine. All of these conditions and their psychological effects can have extreme consequences on men who live inside the prison system for long periods at a time.

It is estimated that at least a quarter of prison inmates have serious mental health problems. This large number could be impacted by the number of mentally ill people that go on to commit crimes. It could also be impacted by the psychological effects that results from being imprisoned. In Shawshank Redemption, Red called it “institutionalized.” He claimed, “These walls are funny, First you hate them, then you get used to them. After long enough, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.” After a person has spent a long period of time in prison, they may develop deficits or disabilities in social and life skills. Prisoners may be deprived of independence and responsibility, and once they return to life outside of prison, they are often unable to manage many of its demands. When Brooks finally gained freedom after spending the majority of his life in prison, he could not handle such freedom. He had to leave all of his social contacts behind, and felt it difficult to interact with others. He lost his identity when leaving prison, and also his security. After leaving prison, he claimed of always feeling scared, and eventually committed suicide. Prison administrators are required to provide treatment for serious mental illness in the prisons. But “serious” means the condition must result in further significant injury, and this is left to the discretion of prison wardens. Often times, wardens and guards perceive prisoners as faking mental illnesses for sympathy or time away from their cell.

Terms: prison, cruel and unusual punishment, inhumane, Prison Rape Elimination Act, mental illness, autonomy

Shawshank Redemption is one of those movies that gives insight into how the prison system use to be. The movies shows great example of how corruption and power can lead a system to fall apart. The psychology in this movie is great because it show example of how new prisoners are broken down and are forced into the jail society. While in prison these inmates created a society and life for themselves and have no idea what’s going on in the world. The best example is the older prisoner who worked in the library and gave out books. He knew no other life, but prison life and knew nothing of the outside world. He was too old work and couldn’t adapt to the way the world was and couldn’t take the stress. He was willing to give up his freedom for to stay in prison, either by committing another crime or killing somebody. The movie described Brooks as suffering from institutionalization because he was important in prison and is dependent on the prison to live. Red also gets a chance at parole and rejoin society outside the prison and he admits he fears to go back to the world. Some of the example of Red suffering from institutionalization is that he keeps asking for permission to go to the bathroom and he often things about ways to violate his parole. In the end he violates the parole and joins Andy in Mexico.
The court case of Andy was very interesting and how the prosecutor was talking about Andy committed the murder. The judge of the case only focused on the aggravating factors when sentencing Andy to prison. He had motive, gun, bullets with finger prints on it, and he was admitted to be at the scene with a gun. I was surprised at the use of trace evidence considering the time period and the lack of technology, but the courts used finger prints and tire tracks to connect Andy to the crime. The books talked about mitigating factors are often ignored and in this it was overlooked as well. The judge evens say that he sentenced Andy because he seemed a cold personality and that has some bias involved in it.
From the beginning of the movie we see how a prison can break the spirit of a person just by walking into the prison. They are stripped naked and forced to walk through to their cells naked. This was done is the Stanford experiment to break the person to nothing. Then when the light are finally shut off that the realization and pressure of being in prison gets to the new prisoners. It was strange to see the other prisoners take bets on who would break down. The harassment from the other prisoners adds to the world of being in prison and how some of them coupe with being in prison. Some become suppliers and help prisoners get their hands on outside materials to help get along in prison. This would be one way to keep connection with the outside world, since the whole point of prison to cut them off and break all ties to society outside the walls. From the Stanford experiment had solitary confinement and this movie had the “hole” to further break down the prisoner. It was a way to keep control and punish trouble prisoners. Andy in this movie tried to fight the system by not excepting the norms of a prison and trying to keep a connection with the outside world. The isolation inside this small space with no light cuts the prisoner off from other prisons which is their only form of human interaction and people need to socialize to keep sane. He becomes business man inside the prison and fought for prison reform to help prisons better for prisoners. Similar to prisons today he got new books and helps a prisoner get an education to get out of prison.
The actually system inside this prison is full of corruption and guards that abuse their power over the prisoners. The head guard is one that fully enjoys the power he has and does not hold back from proving that he is in charge. He continues to physically break down the prisoners and keep control of the prison. He evens commits murder to cover up what the warden was doing to make money off the prisoners. The warden is major religious person and uses it throughout this prison, but is a greedy man and will to use the prisoners for his own personal gain. The warden talked about how he was trying to use rehabilitation on prisoners through work outside the prison, but also saw it as a way to make money. This movie shows great example of how prisons were before prisoners were giving rights and freedoms while in prison.
Key words: institutionalization, parole, aggravating factors, trace evidence.

I thought that Shawshank Redemption was a great movie. It is probably one of my top favorites now! It related so much to psychology and law. First off, he was convicted of first degree murder for killing his wife and her lover. They stated that it was malice forethought and premeditated, they were thinking about the death penalty but the judge decided to give him two life sentences in prison instead. They based the ruling off of curcimstancial evidence, he had owned a gun, and had motive. Andy said that he did think about it, but decided against it, and when he was leaving to go home he threw the gun in the river. According to the lawyer then police had drained that river for three days and found no gun. The judges, jurors, and public decided on the case based off of internal causes and external causes. Also controllability which refers to whether or not a person could have controlled their behavior, and stability which refers to whether the cause appears temporary or permanent. The judge then used determinate sentencing also called mandatory sentencing to hand down a sentence that falls within a prespecified range if a defendant is found guilty of a particular crime.
Any was sent to shawshank redemption prison, which focused on punishment and the bible. Therefore it was a mix of a “penal institution” which implies a place of punishment the term “penitentiary” is religious in origin and refers to a place where one can repent and atone for ones sins; and the term “correctional institution” suggests a place where the behavior of the criminal can be improved and corrected. (pg. 354) There are goals of imprisonment and the first one is incapacitation, which is the simplest. If a criminal is contained in the prison walls then they can not hurt the people in society. Successful incapacitation requires only that prisons hold criminals securely. This was not accomplished at shawshank redemption prison because Andy dug his way to freedom for almost 20 years and no one even noticed. When he escaped they were puzzled… therefore even the simplest goal at shawshank was not accomplished.
The second goal of prison is deterrence. Which is when a criminal is placed in prison his time there will not be pleasant and when he gets out he will be so grateful and hopefully use his second chance to the fullest because he does not want to go back to prison. One example that came to my mind was when the new young kid arrived to their prison faculty. He stated that he had been to almost every prison there was in the state, stated, “You name it I’ve probably been there.” …so obviously specific deterrence wasn’t working in this kid’s case. We have another type of deterrence too, this is called general deterrence. General deterrence is that other people will choose not to commit crimes because they fear of going to prison. I also think of general deterrence as someone doing something in the prison and getting punished for it, so the other prisoners will stay clear of what the other person did. Such as in the beginning of the film when the big fat guy cried for his mamma.. he was beat in front of everyone and later died that night in the infirmary. (possibly may even be considered as public shaming)
The third type of prison goal is retribution. This is a perspective on punishment that suggests punishment for a crime should be proportionate to the harm they caused. It is intended to make the harmed party feel that justice has been served by punishing the perpetrator. I believe that this is why the judge stated “you will serve TWO life sentences.” If he said one then it still would have met the same thing.
Finally, the fourth is rehabilitation. I do not think that shawshank redemption prison did a good job of this aspect of it. They did not try to help the men or teach them how to be successful in the real world. For example, when the old man’s time was up he was so detached to society that he actually wanted to commit another crime in order to go back. He had a hard time keeping up with the world, and had no clue what to expect. Because of this he ended up taking his own life as a way out. Also, when the black guy got out of prison he had thought the same thing.. luckily Andy had left him with some money in order to get away and to be with him.
Also, the study that we had to watch through the power points, stanford prison expiriment I thought had to relate to this movie. The guards really took keen on their roles. They were mean and beat the prisoners. When the black guy got out he said that he also had to ask to use the bathroom otherwise he couldn't even go a drop.
All and all, I thought that this was a great movie. The ending was excellent and something that I would have never expected. I am glad that Andy got away considering that he didn’t commit the crime. It is movie that I would recommend to all of my friends!
key terms- prison, internal causes, external causes, controllability, stability, determinate sentencing, incapacition, deterrence, specific deterrence, general detterence, retribution, rehabiliation, public shaming.

Shawshank Redemption is probably one of the most realistic and candid prison depictions, everything from the violence from the guards and between inmates to the special treatment for those who have special skill, right down to the out right corruption within the prison system. Within the first few minutes of the movie, during Andy's trial they touch upon the idea of stress and memory loss when Andy states that he doesn't remember what happened after he ditched his gun because he was drunk and confused. Considering the high level of stress he would have felt at the time knowing that just beyond the walls of the house he was parked outside of lay his wife and her lover, and to add to that the toll alcohol takes on your memory, it is very likely that he would have had little to no idea what he did once he had thrown his gun in the river.

They also addressed, rather obviously the mental effects of prison life on individuals, both guards and inmates. Relating back to the study we previewed for our blog post last week, they identified two major types of mentality in the guards. First brutal but fair, and there is an excellent example of one of these guards in the movie. He is the captain of the prison guard and seems to be the warden's right hand man. He is so brutal, that right when Andy gets to Shawshank, the captain beats one of the men so harshly that he dies before the doctor can get to him in the morning. What's interesting is that he isn't punishing him for necessiarly doing anything wrong, but rather for crying on his first night, and so the captain makes an example of him. We also see how mean and cruel he is when Andy approaches him on the roof and he almost throws him off for talking to him about his wife, until he realizes that he's trying to help him. Then you think he's only out to get the good guys, until you see him rape and beat "The Sister" so badly that he never walks again. This mentality of being tough and harsh, but fair is what gains the captain so much respect both from the inmates and the other guards whom he is actually in charge of.
The second type of guard is a more helpful and sympathetic guard. We don't have a really good example of just one of these characters in this film, however we do notice when the guards are helpful in giving a knowing glance to either an inmate or an outside contractor about the contents of a package of laundry or what have you. Or when they have the outdoor detail and they tar the roof, Red pays one of the guards so that he and his buddies will get to be the ones who have the opportunity to go outside and work, if only for a week or so. These two different types of guards, although they seem too hollywood, and much like perfect opposites, they do appear in real prisons. As we notice from the study done, that some of the guards, based upon either their personalities, or other traits, they simply take to discplining others better. While some of the other people who become prison guards believe that you can be rehabilitated, or helped in some way, and therefore are more sympathetic and understanding of the prisoner's needs and wants.

Next is the mentality of the prison inmate, we again look to the study and see the same patterns of initially falling into the system, then out right rebellion of the institution until you accept that you're going to be in prison for a very long time, and you then become institutionalized and the prison way becomes your life. You also see the inter inmate abuse of "The Sisters" toward Andy, and they beat and rape him. Andy makes a comment, "I don't think it would help if I explained to them that I'm not homosexual." And Red replies, "Neither are they." This highlights a really important aspect of the prison life with regards to how respect and dominance are shown and gained within a prison. Because for the guards, they already have an assumed authority, however all the inmates are on an even field, so they have to assert themselves in other ways. "The Sisters" for example, use force and brutality, similar to the captain, where as Red uses his ties with the guards and the outside world to gain respect because he is a person who can have things smuggled into the prison.

They also discuss the idea of becoming institutionalized. Being institutionalized means basically that the prison is your home, and your whole way of life depends upon it simply because you've been in the system for such a long time. The most extreme case of this sort of mental habituality that people fall into once they've spent most of their lives in prison is Brooks. He is a very old man when he gets out of prison, and has been there I believe since he was in his twenties or thirties. As he enters society again, he makes the comment, "The world went and got its self into a big damn hurry." He has been removed from the technology and the times and the culture of the world for so long, that he can't handle all of the changes. Due to his inability to cope with the world now, he starts to think about ways to get back into prison. And you always hear of such high recitivism rates and wonder, why on earth anyone would want to go back to prison. However, Brooks really shows us that once you become institutionalized, it's nearly impossible to reenter a society that has gone so long without you. You feel like you don't belong, when while he was at the prison he had a job, and people knew who he was and what he was about, outside he's nothing. Brooks couldn't handle the new culture and he killed himself. You can also see the signs that some of the men are becoming institutionalized not by their actions, but by their reactions to the new young men that occasionally enter Shawshank. There is an extreme difference in the culture that is apparent in every thing about the young kid who comes in and Andy helps him earn his GED. He looks, walks, and talks like Elvis Presley. His whole attitude about life is completely different based solely on the social norms and psychology of the time. Once he enters the prison, that's when Red begins to believe that he's institutionalized and he slowly becomes morbid about his parole instead of excited as he used to be.

This movie obviously depicts many relevant aspects of the legal system, as well as the psychology and social aspects of the prison life.

Shawshank Redemption has link to psychology throughout the movie. From start to finish Red, Andy, Brooks and many of the other characters use psychology to make it in the prison life. Many of the psychological issues at play in Shawshank Redemption relate to freedom, a sense of identity, institutionalization, and the affects of prison life during and after incarceration.
In one of the first scenes we can see the “new fish” routine of the other inmates. Red along with other main inmates place bets on which new inmate will psychologically break on the first night. On the first night many inmates finally get a hold of the prison reality and freak. The other inmates in surrounding cells don't help this matter by taunting them with verbal threats and insults. The first night a weak, overweight man mentally loses his mind and psychological sanity and breaks. Not only did he look like the weakest new fish to all the other inmates, but he also ended up dead by the hands of the main guard. This whole new fish scene ties directly to the psychological factors of imprisonment and the fear that can follow.
One of the major psychological issues through out the entire movie is how inmates handle their freedom and personal identity. Red, Andy and Brooks all struggle with understanding who they are and who they have become. Andy has a goal of finding his own identity, which is “an individual’s self-concept derived from perceived membership in a relevant social group,” within the prison of Shawshank by taking on different responsibilities and roles. Becoming a prison librarian, a financial advisor, and an educator. Andy begins to cope with the hardships of prison life and finds a place to fit in. The psychological needs of all these men is shawshank is simple to identify with a group. Andy after some time joins the click of Red and his other close friends. Red on the other hand, is deeply ingrained in the prison life. Red had been in prison for over 30 years and intentionally refuses parole every time. Reds process of exiting out of parole directly relates to his psychological needs. This also shows just how much Red has been institutionalized by shawshank and his role at the prison. Being free and outside the walls of the prison, Red is just another man. Red believes he cannot function outside the prison walls because freedom is a frightening concept, but a sense of hope energizes his behavior and directs him toward the goal of freedom. In the prison he is a highly respected inmate with a talent gift of getting items into the prison walls. This dalema of not being able to handle freedom outside of prison is also seem in old man Brooks case. Brooks, the librarian, has distributed books to the prisoners for sixty years, but is later is released leading him to committing suicide because he cannot seem to find his place in society.
The concept of institutionalization plays an impact on the inmates self identity and understanding of freedom. As I stated in my earlier paragraph, many of the main inmates have learned to live and love the prison life; it is all they know. The psychological needs of inmates in the 1940's prison system was not an important topic. Unlike today, there was no rehab or treatment for violent offenders with psychological and mental issues. This holds true in shawshank. Many of the prisoners in the movie were isolated and punished more than treated. This harsh way of life forced many inmates to institutionalize. Shawshank's main goal was discipline, along with incapacitation and a retribution aspect. Without understanding the inmates psychological needs; the prison did more harm than good to many of the inmates set for release. This can be seen especially in Brooks case. We was not psychologically, financially, or socially reintegrated into society. He eventually took his life because of that.
Connecting more to the class lecture, on a small note, Shawshank Redemption is a good example of false convictions and imprisonment. This especially hold true in the early to mid 19th century. Andy like many of the other inmates were in prison for crimes that they did not commit. In Andy's case, evidence and lack of testimony or eyewitness eventually lead to his conviction. Like many other cases in the 1940's, the courts were looking more at a conviction compared to fair and equal justice given the evidence. False imprisonment is not a prevalent today give improved technology, DNA, and a well improved criminal justice and court system.


Key Terms: psychology, socially, false imprisonment, testimony, evidence, institutionalization, mental health, psychological needs, incarceration, self identity, freedom, discipline, rehabilitation, treatment, retribution, eyewitness, conviction, DNA, courts, criminal justice system, reintegration

Terms: guards, stress and memory loss, the toll alcohol takes on your memory, mental effects of prison life, inmates, warden's, personalities, or other traits, rehabilitated, institutionalized, inter inmate abuse, recitivism rates, social norms and psychology of the time, parole

Shawshank Redemption is one of the best prison movies I have ever seen. The setting of a 1950s-1960s prison and how life was. The first thing that struck me was Andy Dufresne being sent to prison. Most people who are convicted of a crime say that they are innocent, but you got the since that he was. It seemed to me that he was going to shoot himself rather than kill his wife and this other man. The courts found without reasonable doubt that Andy had committed the crime and he was sentenced to two life sentences. Back when his case was on trial was around the time of the 1950s. There was not a lot of technology back then and that is probably why there were so many men in prison that say they were innocent. Some of them probably were and people in prison now are trying to get released based on the new technologies there are now. Dufresne was not meant to be in the prison. He was far more intellectual than most of the people in the prison, but this came to an advantage for him. He did still go through prisonization later on.

Before he realized what his intelligence could do for him in the prison, there came the first night. That is one of the worst nights because that is the day you lose your identity. You are stripped of your clothes, name, and dignity. You are beat if you talk back and do not obey orders, and you are beat if you disrespect other convicts. The prisoners definitely conform to the orders of the ones that have authority over them and can control whether they serve the whole sentence or get released into the real world.

When Andy received the verdict from the judge, he didn't say a word. When he was on the stand being questioned, he said that he was innocent, but there was circumstantial evidence the police had and the lawyer kept insisting. He probably felt like everyone was against him until he met "Red", a friend he meets in prison. Being sent to prison, there is a sense of fear from mostly everyone. Prisoners are never safe and when Andy was raped by the other prisoners, it would be a very negative effect on his brain. I would think it would effect his psychological state, but he knew it would happen because prison life is not glamorous. Andy knew what he was doing by getting good with the guards by doing there taxes. He was a banker before being incarcerated, and the guards needed help with that. This helped him make friends in the prison which would boost his morale, and be protected from enemies.

Andy read a lot and made the guards and the warden believe that he was loyal to them. He would continue to do the wardens bills just to escape and have the warden sent to prison in the end. Once he had escaped I am sure he went through an adjustment period because being away from the outside world for over a decade can be hard. Andy was innocent and he was not supposed to be there. He went through years of fighting just so he could get out. Andy knew he would not get parole since he had 2 life sentences in prison so escaping was the only way. In the prisons I do not think this prison had goals for the imprisoned. They were incapacitated, but there was no retribution. The goal is to never be put in a prison and you do not have to go through what Andy Dufresne went through.

key terms: prison, judge, adjustment, psychological, retribution, incapacitated, reasonable doubt, prisonization, trial, parole

This weeks movie blog came in the form of a great movie: The Shawshank Redemption. The Shawshank Redemption is a great movie that depicts the hardship, struggle, and corruption of the prison system back in the day. I have no doubt that some prisons are still like this today. I had seen this movie a couple of times before and after watching it again I noticed many themes from chapters 13, 16, and 17 in our textbook.

Right from the start of the film I began identifying things I had learned this semester in class. In the beginning, the main character Andy is on trial for the murder of his wife and her lover. This is a capital offense, in which if he is found guilty he will either be sentenced to life in prison without parole or the death penalty. The prosecutor present the evidence to the jury in the forms of physical trace evidence and forensic identification, such as the supposed fingerprints that Andy left behind. He painted a picture of Andy's psychological disposition by pointing out that eight shots were fired from a gun that holds six bullets, meaning that he reloaded and kept firing on the two victims. This shows the stability and controllability of Andy's actions. The prosecutor also paints of a picture of external and internal causes when he describes how Andy had been drinking and came home to his wife with another man. This caused Andy to lose it and commit the brutal murders in question. One thing that I didn't like was that Andy's defense attorney did not instill any reasonable doubt into the jury, which is an effective way to get the jury to deliberate in depth of the crime and accompanying evidence.

Once the jury deliberation had been completed, the announced that they had found Andy guilty of the capital offense. The judge sentenced Andy to a double life sentence. I was a little confused at this part, because the judge did not seem to use determinant sentencing or guided discretion. I thought that it would be a two phase trial and that after Andy was found guilty they would enter the penalty phase to determine whether he gets life in prison with no parole or the death sentence. However,
I remembered the time period of this movie and realized that this was probably way before the court system changed the way capital punishment was sentenced and carried out.

After Andy was sentenced and arrived at prison, I noticed many more themes relevant to our class. First, Andy's sentence of life in prison served two objectives of punishment: incapacitation, retribution, and deterrence. Andy was incapacitated in order to protect the general public and society from his actions. He received retribution for his actions in the form of prison. Lastly, prison acted as a deterrence to future actions. Deterrence is a behavioral psychology and behavioral modification principle. A punishment harsher than the behavior is administered to deter the individual from committing the behavior again and to deter other members of society from committing the behavior in the first place. For most, the benefits for emitting the behavior do not outweigh the costs.

When Andy begins prison life he first learns of the prison subculture. He goes through a process of prisonization and learns the values, norms, and languages of prison life. The process of prisonization can change and harden people. This is evident when Brooks is released from prison and cannot adjust back to the outside word. He thinks about committing a crime so they will take him back to prison because that is all he knows, but he ultimately decides to take his own life.

A lot of this movie reminds me of the Stanford Prison Experiment. The prison depicted in this movie is full of corruption and abuse carried out by the guards and warden. Prisoners are humiliated, emasculated, and made anonymous. Violence between the prisoners themselves is abundant and harsh. The guards seem to have their own set of rules and use physical and psychological punishment with the inmates.

Towards the end of this movie a new prisoner enters Andy's group of friends and tell Andy his cell mate confessed to him the crimes that Andy was convicted of. This reminds me in class when we talked about all the wrongful convictions and of the innocent people being incarcerated and wrongly put to death. When Andy goes to the warden with this information, the warden kills the new prisoner, furthering the showing of corruption and power in prison. From this point on I was rooting for Andy to escape and I was glad when he finally took his own rightful freedom back.

Terms: Defense, Prosecution, Judge, Jury, Defendant, Capital Offense, Jury Deliberation, Forensic Identification, Physical Trace Evidence, Psychological Disposition, Stability, Controllability, Internal causes, External Causes, Reasonable doubt, Determinant sentencing, guided discretion, penalty phase, death penalty, retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, behavioral psychology, behavior modification, prisonization, prison subculture, Stanford Prison Experiment, wrongful conviction

So believe it or not this was the first time I had watched Shawshank Redemption and it will probably go down in my book as one of my favorite movies. To summarize the movie briefly it is about a man who is wrongfully convicted of murder and is sentenced to life in prison. After some time there and building a very prominent reputation for himself, he escapes to the life that he deserves after serving almost 20 years in prison for a crime he never committed.
In the beginning of the movie you see the story start to unfold surrounding reasons why the jury would sentence Andy to life in prison. There was a lot of physical trace evidence that placed Andy at the scene of the crime; footprints, fingerprints on a broken liquor bottle, tire tracks that matched Andy’s vehicle. Andy also possessed a motive for the crimes he committed because he had just found out that his wife was cheating on him with a golf pro. The investigators surrounding the case used forensic identification to link the physical trace evidence to Andy due to the fact that that must have thought the evidence were inclusions or matches. During the trial you saw the prosecuting attorney use qualitative statements about the strength of the matches to persuade the jury to convicting Andy. Because jurors rely on the evidence presented at trial to reach a decision, the impact of that evidence that is presented weighs heavily on which way the jury leans and in Andy’s situation was not good.
After the trial was finished and all the facts were on the table, it was clear that the judge was convinced that Andy had committed these murders with full intention due to the fact that he had to reload the gun in order to shoot 8 bullets into the victims. These facts surrounding the case showed that the crime was committed with free choice or from internal causes and that the actions of shooting the gun that killed Andy’s wife could have been controlled. Because of these two factors the judge decided to evoke the strongest punishment possible which was life in prison.
During life in prison Andy underwent many changes. At first he was stripped of his own clothes, showered, deloused and given generic clothes for which he would wear for the rest of his life. Prisons go through this process to take any sign of humanity away from inmates. Their individuality is taken away and they are to act differently than what they would if they were on the outside; this is called prisonization. During the movie Andy learns how to get things he wants by learning what the social norms, values, and language of the prison are. Because Andy was such a well behaved inmate and often did favors for the guards and helped them with money situations. Andy found himself climbing the ranks quickly until he started working directly with the Warden. Powerful situations such as being an inmate of prison can often times remove or overwhelm individual differences but it is my opinion that Andy kept his differences throughout the movie. People lose their differences because they are taken out of society, separated from the people they care about, lose any decision making power over important aspects of their lives and put into an environment where any outside stimulation is null or void. For instance when Andy played music over the intercom for those few brief minutes, the men all over the prison felt like they were free for a moment in time because they were given a different form of stimulation they hadn’t heard in such a long time.
I thought it was very unfortunate that Brooks didn’t make it in the outside world. I think Shawshank prison primarily operated off of the goal of incapacitation and neglected to rehabilitate its inmates. I believe that Brooks decided to hang himself because he was not cognitively ready for the outside world. He was used to such rigorous routine that he felt that he did not belong in the outside world. While the parole board, which we see periodically throughout the movie, asks the inmates if they have been rehabilitated when they are up for parole, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have been actively working on such an outcome; Shawshank provided few skills that are necessary to become law-abiding citizens.
Terms: Physical Trace evidence, rehabilitation, forensic identification, inclusion, qualitative statements, internal causes, controllability, stability, humanity, individuality, prisonization, social norms, values, stimulation, incapacitation.

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