Women Prison Guards
Criminal justice is a massive governmental system tasked with upholding the laws of the land. This system includes the courts, police officers, correction authorities, and lawyers. It also includes professions which may not be as obviously connected to criminal justice, including researchers who study crime and justice topics, educators who pass on their knowledge to students working on their bachelors in criminal justice, and even court reporters. It is exactly this adaptability that drives many people to consider an online criminal justice degree. Indeed, most of those pursuing a criminal justice education are making career changes. Often those looking to earn a degree in criminal justice are looking to remain productive members of society without sacrificing their family commitments or having to quit their jobs.
These online degrees in criminal justice are also a great option for those who are not looking to quit their current jobs. Instead, they are seeking to take their current knowledge and add on a second degree to gain access to promotions and increases in pay, opportunities that may not be obtainable without additional education from a criminal justice school. Just as this career path is on the rise, more and more women are choosing to become prison guards, reshaping the traditional role of the guard and the types of interactions that occur between officers and inmates.
Female Officer Responsibilities
Like their male counterparts, women guards are employed at correctional facilities that house male and female inmates. These positions are not just as receptionist and secretaries, however, but make up every rank including prison guards and wardens. Female officers perform the same duties as male officers including transporting intimates, searching living quarters for prohibited items, and inspecting mail. Being a female in a correctional facility carries a number of trials that every woman interested in their career will have to review for herself to decide if she is ready to meet the challenge.
Current research examining how female correctional officers are treated suggest that male inmates and male correctional officers may perceive female guards as being weaker, physically as well as emotionally. Regardless of the size or strength of the female prison guard, she may find herself in situations where inmates may attempt to physically assault or bully her. Fortunately, officers are given the training needed to protect and defend themselves if a physical assault does occur. Additionally, women officers are also less likely to be aggressive in their dealings with inmates. Their ability to use effective communication skills when faced with potentially volatile situations can insert a calming effect on the prison population and reduce the number of physical confrontations against prisoners or correctional staff. Research also suggests that their less aggressive approach means female officers are less likely to be physically assaulted. Despite the stress of being a female guard in a male dominated profession, most female correctional officers also report that the male officers they work with are generally respectful and supportive.
Due to the close proximity between female prison guards, inmates, and other workers, inappropriate comments and attractions may take place from the prisoners to the female prison guards. Guards may face sexual harassment in the form of taunts, innuendos, or name-calling. In an attempt to assert dominance, prisoners may also attempt to sexually assault female guards. By remaining on guard, staying alert at all times, and following assigned rules officers can minimize this risk.
The Benefits Can Outweigh the Risks
A benefit for women working as correctional officers is the chance to serve in a position of power. These women get the chance to show they are just as skilled as men are while helping to reform inmates and help prepare them for life after prisoner, proving the quality of an individual’s work and productivity are not based on gender. This can further pave the way for more women to decide on prison guard jobs or use the knowledge gained at a criminal justice school to enter other areas of law enforcement or service related fields. An online criminal justice degree can also be a great option for women who are already working in administrative positions within the prison system but are looking to move up in the ranks and earn a higher paying prison guard salary.