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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98279 Find in a Library
Title: Modesty or Muscle - Conflicting Views of the Role of Women Working in the Penal System (From Women in the Prison System - Proceedings, P 69-83, 1984, Suzanne Hatty, ed. - See NCJ-98278)
Author(s): C Feinman
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
Sale Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944
Canberra ACT, 2601,
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: The conflicting views on the role of women working in the penal system are examined based on previous studies which establish that only 1 percent or 56,108 of all employed women in the United States worked in the penal system in 1979.
Abstract: The debate on the role and place of women officers and administrators in the penal system reveals that both the supporters and the opponents of equal opportunity employment have been using arguments that rely on beliefs about women's innate qualities, beliefs incorporated in the cult of 'true womanhood'. Both groups use arguments based on assumptions, not on objective data. It is suggested that women seek employment in the penal system for the same reasons that men do: the system offers individuals without highly developed skills the chance to gain employment security, a reasonable income, and opportunities for advancement. Only a few studies have been conducted that have dealt with the role of women in male facilities. For example, the National Institute of Corrections Jail Center Study, conducted in male facilities in Boulder, Colo., in 1976-77, reported that male officers and inmates believed that the presence of women reduces tension and decreases the likelihood of physical confrontation. However, in most recent studies conducted by the Center for Women Policy Studies, it was found that women are not welcomed by men in the system and remain concentrated in female and juvenile facilities. It is recommended that social scientists conduct empirical studies that will provide the data to evaluate the role of women in the system in general and, more specifically, the role, behavior, and impact of women working with men in male facilities. Eleven references are provided.
Index Term(s): Female correctional guards; Misconduct; Penology; Sex discrimination
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