“The Green Mile” is about a man named Paul who worked as a prison officer and had the difficult job of overseeing the men living on death row. During the summer of 1935, Paul’s life changed forever after inmate named, John Coffey was placed under his guard. John had powers to heal and resurrect people and animals. He was on death row for a crime that he did not commit, later meeting the man, Wild Bill, who was at fault for it.
John reveals his powers to Paul and the other prison officers, making John live longer then what he was supposed to because he was given some of John’s powers. The movie ends by Paul forcing himself to execute John and living his days outliving everyone believing that God was punishing him for having John executed. Throughout The Green Mile I saw many issues that relate to what was learned in class such as the death penalty, discretion, similar police officer stresses, corrections, contract labor system, reward and punishment, and the insanity defense being used.
During this movie there were 3 electric chair executions. I got to see the stress it put on the officers and the inmates. The first man who got execution had a sense of regret, wanting to go back to the place where he was the most happy. The U. S. Supreme Court decided that capital punishment does not violate the eighth amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments. After watching this film and witnessing people wait their turn to get execution and the preparation is an extremely cruel punishment.
Preparation during an electrocution includes officer’s rehearsing the execution, the inmate seeing his/her family for the last time, shaving the top of the inmates hair, the inmate having a choice of his/hers last dinner, the inmate getting strapped and their face covered and their last words. A lot of this leads Paul into great stress especially when it was John’s turn for execution. This form of stress is called Organizational stress. During “The Green Mile,” I saw a lot of discretion between the officers and the inmates.
One of the inmates was allowed to take care of a mouse in which he probably wasn’t allowed to have in his cell as a pet. Another time I saw discretion was when Paul gave John corn bread. There was a lot of discretion between the officers because when an officer used violence towards one of the inmates, the other officers didn’t go to a higher authority. Instead they dealt with the situation between themselves. Reward and punishment was also used during the movie on an inmate named Wild Bill. He was being crazy causing trouble between the other inmates and the officers. They put him into a Padded cell in a straitjacket as punishment.
After doing this two times they used not going into the padded cell with a straitjacket as a reward for acting good. Finally, I saw corrections and a contract labor system during the movie. During the first scene they showed prisoners in a line doing labor. They were surrounded with a bunch of officers with big guns. The inmates were singing songs which made me think of slavery. The inmates are forced to work for enough food and clothing to survive just like during slavery. I thought this was unfair to treat inmates like that especially since most of the inmates in prison are in there for self-harm crimes.