Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice

Topics: Police, Gender, Constable Pages: 5 (1848 words) Published: March 12, 2007
Gender bias, sexual harassment, and lack of training have been an ongoing struggle for women in policing and it continues in today. I will be discussing this issue and will assess its past, present and future implications as they relate to the Criminal Justice System. I will be discussing my assessment of the past history and present circumstances of woman in policing. I will also include my predictions and recommendation of how these issues' should be addressed by the police and prosecutor in the future. Implications

Dating back to the 1970's sexism was not considered to be a form of discrimination. Women faced the perception of the public that a women's place was in the home; a woman's role was to cook, clean, and raise the children, not carrying a badge and a gun protecting their neighborhood streets. She was expected to stay at home and it was unreasonable for her to willingly put herself in harms way. It has been a constant struggle beginning with the world inability to accept a woman in a crucial position of authority. The requirements set forth by the police departments in the application process made it near impossible for a woman to gain employment in criminal justice. Such things as height and weight standards were set to a degree as to eliminate most if not all women. Such tactics as creating requirements for women that were different from that of a man were one of the many attempts made to discourage a woman from even trying. For instance some police departments required a woman to have a four-year college degree and a man was only required to have a high school education. As time passed women began to break the barriers and were able to gain employment within the police department however, they were still only allowed to fill the roles that would put them out of harms way. Once again women were facing yet another form of discrimination only this time it was disguised. The police department believed that if they were to give women jobs within the confines of the office that it would serve two purposes; women would stop crying out for equality, and the women could fulfill positions that the men felt were beneath them such as administrative work, and secretarial positions. This was not the case, women were given a taste and that made them want more. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 amended the foundation for occupational opportunities for women. Notwithstanding some gains in the upper ranks of a male-dominated field, improvements were still needed. It wasn't until the 1960's that legislation and judicial improvements were made to support women's demand for equality, this is when their duties and responsibilities began to grow. In 1971 only 1.4 percent of the police officers were women; in 1995 it substantially increased to 24 percent of all police employees being women. In the article Women in law enforcement: A positive work environment, S. E. Martin (1991) indicates that, although both court-ordered and voluntary affirmative action policies have had a significant impact on the hiring of female officers, they have not affected the promotion and advancement of women into the higher ranks of law enforcement agencies. (p. 5-9). The progress made by women in policing has come primarily through legal mandates rather than executive leadership within organizations. With the recruitment rate of only 20 percent it is not likely that the percentage of women in the police force will increase considerably. Issues

In 1995, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) conducted an organizational culture survey of all state directors of corrections and directors of large city jails. Findings suggested that gender inequality is real, although men and women perceive the inequality differently. Women believe that to advance to positions of leadership, they have to work harder and take greater risks than men. (Corrections Today, 1991, p. 106, 108-109). Corrections have had to adjust...

References: McCoy, D.G. (1993). Women in law enforcement. A positive work environment. Law
Enforcement Tomorrow 2(1), 5-9.
Bergsmann, Ilene (1991). ACA Women in Corrections Committee examines female staff
training needs. Corrections Today 53(7) 106, 108-109.
Rison, R.H. (1994). Women as high-security officers. Gender-neutral employment in high-
security prisons. Federal Prisons Journal 3(3) 1-23.
Beck, Ann C. and Stohr, Mary K. (1991). Sexual harassment and support for Affirmative
Action. American Jails 5(5) 15-17.
Corrothers, Helen G. (1991). Managing success. In Change, Challenge, and Choices. Women 's
Role in Modern Corrections, p. 67-81.
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