Gender Issues in Corrections

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The issue of Corrections today focuses on female offenders and is a part of the American Correctional Association's long-standing effort to improve programming and services for women and girls in the criminal justice system. Until recently, women and girls were called the "forgotten offenders" because they were frequently overlooked in correctional research, policy development, program design and organizational management. Female and male correctional officers also face a wide range of issues as well. They are exposed to the correctional environment issues with males working in all women prisons and females working inside male prisons. Sexual harassment lawsuits, rape charges, abuse reports, etc. This topic is important in criminal justice because it involves male and female offenders, not just a specific gender. When incarcerated, both genders are subjected to hostile and irate offenders who are mad and just want retaliation against someone, anyone for them being sentenced to an environment that is out of their comfort zone.

In the 1970s, correctional managers recognized four fundamental challenges: high staff turnover; the growing lack of white applicants in the job pool; the lack of treatment-oriented officers; and minority inmate demands that the correctional work force be diversified. The response to these challenges was a concerted effort to increase the number of women and minorities in corrections. The presence of female correctional officers in the men's prison was desired because they were seen as bringing a "normalizing" influence into prison. This perception was based on the assumption that women would rely more extensively on listening and communication skills than male C.O.s and develop personal relationships with inmates that could be used as a "technique of control" (Pollock, p. 111). Minority officers were sought...
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