Only Equal on the Surface:
Women Officers in Corrections
My honors project will investigate gender equality among correctional officers in the Bureau of Prisons. The goal of any correctional officer, whether male or female, is to account for all inmates while preventing escapes, riots, and disruptive behavior. Also, the common belief is that everyone, regardless gender, race, or ethnicity, has the same equal opportunities for advancement and pay increase while working without the fear of being judges or harassed. However, history has shown that in male dominated professions (such as athletics, construction, and the military ect.), women are treated differently than men, and the field of corrections is no different. In an environment where females make up less than 15% of the work force and less than 7% of the population, women face many inmate and staff related issues that her male counterparts do not. In this project I will explore questions regarding women officers’ view of the obstacles in this career choice. The analysis will be based on data collected thru a survey with current women correctional officers, review of literature, and research of quantitative data on past and current employees in the Bureau of Prisons.
This information will be gathered to help answer the following questions:
1) Why do women decide to work in Federal Corrections to begin with?
2) What exactly are the issues women face regarding male inmates that male officers do not?
3) What exactly are the issues women officers face regarding other staff members men do not?
4) What are the ways, if any, in which women of minority, racial, and other ethnic groups are treated differently?
5) What is being done, if anything, to create parity between men and women in the Federal Correctional work environment?