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Home > corrections 101 > Day 9: Women in Corrections

Day 9: Women in Corrections

July 16th, 2009

Today it’s not out of the ordinary to see a female correctional officer. However, only a decade or two ago it was pretty uncommon. In researching this topic I have come across several accounts of male correctional officers saying how they remember being shocked when they were assigned a new partner and it was a female. They admit that they stereotyped the female COs at first. They didn’t think women were strong enough and they knew what the inmates were capable of. Sgt. Barry Evert recalls his first interaction with a female CO in the blog “Women in Corrections”:

“…I was assigned my first female partner. She was a young Officer also, and new to the department. She was 5’3” and maybe 130 pounds…The mistake I made was that I saw her as a female Officer, not a Correctional Officer… I received a call from my Sergeant instructing me to search a particularly hostile inmate for contraband. I had a pretty good idea that it was going to lead to a physical confrontation, and picked up the phone to arrange for extra staff…The inmate in question came to our office. I readied myself for battle, and told the inmate to face the wall. The inmate immediately became loud and boisterous. Sure of his intentions now, I took the sunglasses off my head and handed them to my partner, telling her to hold onto them. The next couple of minutes are a blur now, but I do remember my partner being the one to cuff the inmate up. She did not say much to me at the time, but I had a new respect for her ability and willingness to be there when needed…”

He went on to write that years later the woman revealed that she had been angry at him that day for asking her to hold his sunglasses instead of asking her for help. He also admitted that there are some females on his staff that he would rather have by his side during an interaction with an inmate then some of the males.

Corrections.com has recently featured an article about women in corrections as well titled “Women as Corrections Professionals.” It has some very interesting statistics and facts included. It shows how the amount of women in corrections has increased in the last ten years. I recommend you check it out; it gave me a lot of information and was also encouraging. If you’re a woman and thinking about going into the corrections field I highly recommend you take a look. Leave your comments, too. I’m always interested in personal accounts.

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