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Women working in Corrections


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Buckeye flag Mudflap 293 posts

Hi Fred and welcome to the site!

You might get more comments with a new thread, but this will get you started:

At the top of this page (right above where it says Forums The Club House) are several items, listed left to right as CorrectSource (Marketplace), Resources, News, Topice, Careers, Forums and Events

Put your cursor on “News” and it should give you a drop box

In that drop box click on “news archives”, and that will take you to a “news search” screen

In the box marked “keywords” type in the word “pages” and click on “go”

You’ll get a couple pages of past articles to peep out


You can click on the word “careers” (no drop box)

Scroll down to “career voices” and click on one of the names there… currently it’s Caitlin Donovan and Tacy E Barnhart (both have good material)

You can then scroll down, and on the right side of the page is a section titled “Recent Articles on Corrections.com”

At the bottom of that section, click on “view all” and you will get a list of some past articles by various authors

Hope these will get you started. Good luck in your search.

Male user fred 1 post


I am a correctional training instructor. What are some of the tips that I can us for training. There is a big problem with staff/inmate relationships. How can this be prevented?

Female user StuckinOZ 13 posts

WOW, DSF! I’m impressed. For the most part, it is dog eat dog among the CO’s. The younger COs, both male and female, range from overt hatefulness to simply ignoring you when you need assistance. There are a few of us, male and female, that get along much better with the clients (community corrections) because we show them respect, and they return it. They will comply with our requests because we ask them to rather that barking orders and calling them names. It amazes me how some staff get away with treating clients like dirt. I rarely, if ever, have a client who will not do what I ask them to do. Sometimes a little kindness works a lot better and lasts a lot longer. I’ve been written up for “being too nice to the clients.” Yet, not once have I had a written comment about how I have stemmed a crisis with clients by talking to them and de-escalating the situation, or talked a client out of escaping, or talked to Spanish speaking clients with my broken border Spanish. I guess that’s how it rolls in our county. It’s discouraging, but I end my shift knowing I did a good job each night, even if I am the only one who recognizes it.

Female user DSFleurdelis 2 posts

replying to ms. kellie’s post. i will agree with most of what you had to say. I know and understand that i still have much to learn if i am to make it in my corrections career. Maybe ‘coniving’ wasnt the best choice of words to use in that situation. Maybe i should have said “always be one step ahead”. WAY back in the day our facilities had male deputies with the male inmates and female deputies with the female inmates, but that was over 20 years ago. I agree that it is better to try to be positive, but also consider that with different regions throughout the united states the type of inmates you will encounter will be different. Even in different sections of the facilities, the inmates may be better or worse. And also being it that most of my coworkers tower over me and out weigh me, (male and female) when theres a situation nobody ever tells me to stay out, but they would prefer that the males jump in first. That never offends me though, because at our facility, we are more than just coworkers, we are like a close knit family and we look out for one another. We want to see each one of us walk out the door at the end of the day unscathed. And everyone has to deal with bais in our department. Our whole department is based mostly on politics and not what corrections is truly about, so as deputies, non commisioned or otherwise, we ALL have to try to get our respect, even from other departments outside of our jurisdiction. But like I said, different regions, different situations….

Eagle luckylady09 1 post

Just a few words on the topic of women in corrections, I have been a C/O for 6 years in both max juvenile and adult male and i find that females get more respect than their male coworkers in most part because they know how to be civil and not be an ass all the time. Women do their job and the men don’t like to admit that their just plain lazy!

Female user StuckinOZ 13 posts

I haven’t been in corrections long, but I really thought I’d move up given my education and experience. I’d like to be an intensive supervision officer, but I’ve applied repeatedly and have only had one interview. I like working at our facility, but I know I don’t have a ghost of a chance for advancement. I don’t know why…or maybe I do…the coordinator (who does the hiring) really likes the young women he hires. One 25 yr old got promoted to asst shift supervisor four days after she was hired to be a line officer. She hadn’t even finished her training and didn’t even have her badge yet. Right now she is gunning for the coordinator’s job. What goes around comes around. LOL

Good luck on the possibility of the new job.

Female user getaway58 2 posts

Hey thanks, your comment sounds so familiar. It’s quite cathartic to release my gripes and to be understood. I have written memos. I have been to HR and today I interviewed for another specialty position within the jail. After the interview, the Sgt told me that if he were going on seniority alone, I would be a shoo in. He then told me that he needed to have his LT make the decision. I have a minimum of 3-5 years seniority on all of the other applicants. Later, I heard a rumor (aren’t they always) that the LT would not hire another female for a specialty position. Hmmm. When asked how I prepared for the position, I explained that I had studied OSHA regulations, Federal mandates for the Corrections industry as well as passing the National Certified Jail Officer exam. I will not know the outcome for a few days but I am hoping that the the LTs will finally move me up.

Female user StuckinOZ 13 posts

Oh my gosh, can I ever agree with you. It’s like I wrote your post for you. I work in the same kind of facility. This is a second career for me, so I am older that my co-workers, a fact they like to point out with comments like “You’re too old to be working here.” or “Get out of the way, old lady.” But this comes from both younger female and male co-workers. I have a PhD but I simply cannot get promoted…I keep applying for other jobs within the county, and I’ve volunteered to do a number of things that I think would really help the inmates (we have to call them clients), such as a support group for our female clients who have been in abusive relationships. But they keep turning me down. I wanted to get involved in the juvenile program at our facility and volunteered several times. Instead they gave the assignment to another CO, who ultimately ended up having affairs with several clients. WHAT IS GOING ON? I like the job, and it’s nowhere near as hard as my previous career field. But it is hard on my self esteem.

Female user getaway58 2 posts

I work in a coed county facility. I have been here for about 6 years. As a female, I find that the male officers are much more difficult than any of the inmates. I have to put up with comment such as being belittled for my demeanor and respectful communication when dealing with compliant inmates. I am not their friend but the inmates respond to me much better when I ask them to do something then follow the request with a thank-you. The male officers treat most of the inmates like they are less than animals. I have written memeos to supervisory officers on many occasions but get nothing. In fact, I was involuntarily “reassigned” because I " won’t establish a relationship" with another officer on my squad. This chauvanistic male officer feels he is above reproach and I do not want to establish anything but a working relationship with him. So, instead of disciplining the male officer who has several write ups for harrassment, I was reassigned. So, how do I get past that issue? I fight my own fights, I back up anyone who needs assistance, I am basically fearless in front of inmates and yet I cannot get promoted or have my issues with male officers resolved.

Female user Kellie 14 posts

I know that you don’t mean to put a negative twist on being a female working in a male facility…..but……coniving is not a trait that I would want to have to use on a daily basis. I have worked in corrections for over 20 years and have seen and experienced the good/bad/ugly from both staff and inmates. I have survived because I am smart, ethical, and tough.

While I am not a small female, so I don’t have to deal with being small (180lbs and not fat) I have to deal with being female.

I was once told to stay out of cell where there was a fight. I simply leaned up against the wall across from the fight and watched. I would have stepped in if there was a problem. This male officer went to the academy with me ( I worked for another agency at the time) and I passed the physical part of the training at a much higher level than he did….I simply took him aside later and reminded him that my score was much higher than his and that if he wanted to get his butt kicked that was fine with me…but don’t ever tell me to stay out of a situation.

I came from a facility that expected the women to be equal to the men and we were equal. The facility I went to (and still work at) the women did nothing but hold the door. Needless to say that has changed.

So please use positive traits on a daily basis you will be much happier. Know the policy, promise never threaten, say what you are going to do and then follow through, finish what you start, never ever expect other staff to step in physically if you are not prepared to also become involved.

Your reputation is made or destroyed in seconds. If you have to keep a list of what you need to do, then do it. Inmates remember and pass that information on to other inmates. One of my favorite sayings “do not invite me to do something that you really do not want”. I love it when an inmate says “just write me up” or “go ahead lock me down”. I just look at them and say…..“OK” and then I do it.

Staff will respect you more also…….no one has to clean up after me. I don’t expect the men to take care of the hard stuff, I do expect them to back me up as I back them up. But I don’t expect special treatment.

OK Off my soapbox.

Female user DSFleurdelis 2 posts

Let me just say that im the youngest in my department, weighing in at a buck 12 and i work in a ALL male facility. Of course a woman has to try harder to get her respect than a male does, because a man isnt used to having a woman telling him what to do and having to follow suit. Its a psycological thing. You could say one thing to the inmate, and hell turn around and ask your male partner the same question, and get the SAME answer, then decide to listen. And sometimes all a female CO has is her mind, and that black and red pen. Not always even backup. You have to find what these inmates like the most and take it from them. Visits, commisary, phone calls, the tv’s…and whatever else makes them happy. I do have bad nerves, and they (the inmates) know it, so they use that to their advantage sometimes. But they also know at the end of the day (and I say it) I get to go home and do whatever the hell I want without having to ask someone for it. So they know who not to play with. Plus, in my department as a whole, the number of females outweighs the males by a signifigant number. Case and point, even though men get more respect than a woman does, a woman has something powerful: a voice and a coniving mind.

Male user Marcfj 4 posts

Igoturback, as an aspiring writer I would very much like to know how a female bounty hunter like yourself would apprehend a male fugitive.

Female user blondeco 4 posts

I have to agree with Kellie on the makeup/jewelry stuff. Either you show up from day one dressed to policy and with minimum amount of makeup……..or you show up with none and stick with that look day in and day out.

Because when you show up without wearing makeup everyday to work…….then suddenly show up one day with makeup……….red flag to everyone. Believe me. Its a total red flag. Staff and inmates wonder who you are trying to screw………staff or inmates!!!!!!!!!!!

I also have to agree with Kellie on: Dont make empty threats. Make promises. The inmates know the rules better than staff does. They like to “try” new C/O’s. To see if you know your job. Its just like any other job really, trial and errors. But, your errors could cause a situation you dont want. If you dont know, ask someone else. And keep asking. Watch how others interact. Like I said before, tweek it to fit you. I found my way, a new female C/O can find hers.

Female user Kellie 14 posts

I forgot to add this one important point on being female in this line of work…..You will get no respect from anyone, male, female, inmate, other staff…..if you come to work wearing a ton of makeup!!!!! Leave the diamonds, big earrings, red lipstick at home.

A minimum of makeup and a minimum amount of rings, necklaces, earrings while at work.

You are looking for respect, make your appearance appropriate for what your are seeking. I am not saying that you should not look nice and put together, I am saying you are not going on a date or trying to impress anyone with how you look. Less is more in this situation.

Oh and please get in shape and stay in shape. This will save your life not only if there is a situation at work, but also the stress of the job will be less if you are in shape.

Buckeye flag Mudflap 293 posts

Good advice……. no matter which gender you happen to be.

Female user Kellie 14 posts

I have been working as a Corrections Officer since I was 23, I am now 45……..The most important thing to remember as a female in this line of work (in my opinion) is that you cannot do this job the same way a man would! Your brain and communication skills are the best defense you have. Say what you want them to do, tell them what will occure if they don’t, then follow up with the consequences. Do not ever make threats that you cannot follow through, in fact….don’t ever threaten…only promise what you will do!

Women do well in this field, we have skills that help us in many ways. If you know you cannot physically control a situation, you learn really quick alternative ways to take control. I know that I cannot physically control (for long anyway) a man, therefore, I ensure I have my communication skills sharp and I always try to have an escape plan. Always ensure that you have backup close.

Do handle situations yourself and enforce what you say. Always attempt to finish the situation yourself and thank the other officers that assist. I learned a valuable lesson in the first jail I worked in…….Always jump in to a situation, show what you are made of, always backup your fellow officers, let them know you will mix it up. Once you show you can handle yourself or at least will jump in and assist, you have won most of the battle of respect not only with the other staff, but the inmates see that also.

Always………if you say you will do something, do it! If you promise some sort of corrective action, do it! Always back up your fellow officers…Always!!!!

Stay in shape, lift weigts, build your cardio limits. Part of the respect is looking the part!

41153535 61942244 Igoturback 25 posts

I sure do Mudflap

Buckeye flag Mudflap 293 posts

Yah, Igoturback, a BIG 10-4 on the “no dating”. I can’t think of one relationship that’s survived and it hurts the entire shift when the eventual break-up happens. Even when I don’t “take sides” it’s interpreted as favoring one over the other.

There have been times (although few and far between) when I’ve seen new CO’s come through that didn’t look like they would make it, but it turned out that they are exceptional officers. Can’t tell sometimes. I give everyone the benefit of doubt and at least TRY to ‘splain what’s going on.

The new CO’s are gonna make their own decisions about what kind of CO they’re going to be. Sometimes it’s painfully obvious which “group” the new guy is gonna link up with, though, and I’ve learned it’s best not to name names when advising the new guy who NOT to emulate, if you knowhutimean.

41153535 61942244 Igoturback 25 posts

blondeco are you sure were not cut from the same cloth??? same here on what you said..I also find that they want you to go by the book and i do teach by the rules and regs then you have to deal with ( your a hard ass ) (or wow i didnt know you were even human ) ya ya ,go pound sand i say…, I have had even superv/ come to me asking what would i do and they would end up doing just that. and take all the credit,( i dont even say a word about it ) just stuff you keep in the back of your mind for later. but other then stuff like that i also try to hint around about not dating where u work. i have always gone by the rule, seen what happens at work with the other officers who do go down that road and the mess it leaves. and then you have to deal with the other officers tall tall storys about there dates and when i would say HELLOOOOOO female over here …. they laugh saying oh sorry we just think of you as one of the guys.. thats all good but there some stuff they can leave out…lolololol I love my job.. i do. i even go to moundsville W.V to do the riot training cell extraction all the good stuff. fn303 ect… als devices tooo.
any way back to the top … those officers will never change.. we will have them coming and going and it can never be fast enough i to think it is a waste of my time to even try to train them , I have been right on everyone that has come in after i did on what kind of officer they would end up being .and they seem not to listen until it’s to late.

Female user SERTCCDC 6 posts

very well said blodeco.
I work in a jail so a little different and I work under the 9th circuit.. so.. I have learned to write goood reports and let the inmate words move them to ad seg… or disciplenary. I do not back down. I have had a 6’2 250+ step up on me and I did not move.. he backed up. I called a sgt with a taser and guess who got moved out while 30 some odd inmates where watching.

Female user blondeco 4 posts

Igoturback……..I have so got to agree with the females with low opinions of themselves. If they came to prison to find a hubby, they should just get on an inmates visiting list and not waste my time or energy. Prison is no place for them. It takes a strong person, mentally and emotionally to work in a prison. And I am not just talking about females……..I have worked with some males that…..well, if a situation happened, I so do not want them anywhere near. I am an F.T.O. too and was picked because of my own self respect and attitude. I read policy daily, I know the rules and regulations, yet I do NOT live that job. When I leave there, work stays there. I work in the Ad-seg unit and I see it all. Humans at their worst. You see it all there and you sure in the hell hear it all there.
As for making friends, I have no friends there. I have a working relationship with fellow staff and the Inmates. That is it. I do not go out after work with any of them. Don’t give them any ammo against you I always say (meaning staff). I used to teach defensive tactics at the prison and always got a kick out the “newbie” male Officers who “thought” I was a wimp. A female can’t do that stuff. Ha. I am 5’4 and can and WILL go into any situation at the prison before half of the male staff there. ALL staff gets back up and I WILL defend all staff against an Inmate/s. ALL staff will leave that day ALIVE. That is my job and my duty. And I, as a female, understand what can happen in a prison. I have been doing time too long not to understand that. I can’t even 12/12 till 2025, so I know I will only get better at my job as time goes by.
I have been involved in MANY uses of force and each time another one happens, I look forward to the next time one happens. As I see it, Inmates know the consequences of their actions, it was their choice…….so lets do it!!! I have a job to do. Its only a little bit of paperwork, an hour of so of time, but some real good conversations with your fellow employees……lol. I AM one of the many females at the prison I work at, that they WANT to respond to a situation. Calm cool and collected at all times.

41153535 61942244 Igoturback 25 posts

you are so right blondeco i do just that i leave home at home and work at work and as a F.T.O. I would tell the new female officers that comes in the same thing dont give the inmates (and some bone head male officers too)- any reaction at all, dont give them anything they can use later on down the line. and we are not there to make friends. if you think the inmates are your friends your not wrong your dead wrong. and if your looking for a husband——— get out we dont need people with low opinons of them self working here. you only make it harder for us who can do the job.

Female user blondeco 4 posts

I am a female and have worked in both a level 5 and a level 3 male prison. Its in how you handle yourself and situations. The Inmates will say things, try to break you down. Couldn’t tell you how many times I have been told I am fat, ugly and a female dog. I just smile and say thank you. Never ever let them get to you, see you cry or get upset. Its all about respect. You will have your problem Inmates, we all do. But, its how you handle yourself. Firm, fair and consistant.
I have no idea how many females I have seen get caught up by Inmates. They either quit because they can’t handle being belittled day by day or they actually have affairs with Inmates. First things first, no matter what anyone says, it is US against THEM. It is the respect of your fellow staff members that matters most. You have to remember where you are, you are in a prison, seeing people at their worst. If you were in prison, how would you act? Most likely the same way. Its all a game for them. First, break you down. If they accomplish that, then its time to work on you and get you to bring things in or get involved with them. Staff members are the only ones who have your back…..an Inmate NEVER will.
Senior female staff members are your best resource…….find out how they do it and tweek it to fit you and your personality. When I train new Officers, I tell them that. What works for me, might not work for you so you have to find your own way. But always, always, be fair firm and consistant in what you do. Empathy not Sympathy. You will hear some stories from the Inmates…….but no Sympathy. They did the crime, they can do the time. You are not the Judge or jury, you did not put them there. THEY DID. You will leave wanting to cry…….but never ever let them see you cry. Leave work at work and your personal life OUTSIDE of work. Simple ethics to live by. When you walk through that main gate daily and it shuts behind you, you are a C/O. You are not a female, you are not girly girly. You are not a mother or a wife, you are a C/O just like the male Officers. But, again, you have to find your own way. Just stick with policy and procedure implimented by your prison, and noone can ever fault you at all. Learn it, keep reading it, keep reading it, keep reading it (can’t say that enough) know it and live it at work.

41153535 61942244 Igoturback 25 posts

the inmates dont care what you look like but thanks any way LMAO

Male user Marcfj 4 posts

Igoturback wrote: “Mr grumpy you have much of a chance of getting rape as i do”

Surely Mr. Grumpy can’t be as pretty as you. LOL

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