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Is Gender a Factor in Perceived Prison Officer Competence? Male Prisoners' Perceptions in an English Dispersal Prison

NCJ Number
Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Dated: 2005 Pages: 65-74
Elizabeth Boyd; Tim Grant
Date Published
10 pages
This British study examined inmates' perceptions of male and female prison officers' job performance.
The study hypothesized that inmate ratings of officers' competence and professionalism would not differ for male and female officers, but that there would be differences in perceptions of how male and female officers performed their tasks. Researchers anticipated that women would be perceived as more communicative, empathetic, and less punitive. Fifty-seven adult male inmates randomly selected from the inmate population of HMP Wandsworth were selected to complete the Prison Officer Competency Rating Scale (PORS) separately for male and female officers. As hypothesized, there were no significant differences in inmates' ratings of the overall competence of male and female officers; however, contrary to expectations of the PORS subscales, there were no gender differences in "discipline and control," "communication," or "empathy," but there was a significant difference in "professionalism," in that inmates tended to rate women as more professional. Items related to professionalism included respecting privacy and keeping calm in difficult situations. 20 references and appended PORS