As the number of female correctional officers working in male institutions throughout the United States increases, issues regarding security and the prison environment are of concern.
On Female Officers
A recent study of 366 male inmates surveyed at four prison units in Texas found that 70 percent of respondents reported positive perceptions of job competency among female officers. Generally, male inmates reported that female guards were as professional, effective, and competent as male correctional officers.
In 1969 the Joint Commission on Correctional Manpower and Training made recommendations for the integration of women into the field of corrections. By 1988, Texas reported that 17 percent of female correctional officers were employed in male institutions.
In 1998, 32.2 percent of all adult correctional agency staff in the United States were female. Currently, over 80 percent of the 8,528 female correctional officers employed in Texas work in male prison units.
The study was conducted by Sam Houston State University graduate student Kelly Cheeseman in cooperation with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as part of an ongoing program to address topical issues in corrections. It is among the first to examine inmate perceptions of female correctional officers in Texas.
Overall, Cheeseman's study found that the majority of male inmates reported that female officers were as well-respected, competent in carrying out job duties including issues of security and safety, and as effective as male correctional officers.
"The study suggests that female correctional officers continue to have a positive impact on the prison environment," said Cheeseman.
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SHSU Media Contact:Frank Krystyniak
January 7, 2000
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