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Women Working in Corrections (From Women in Corrections: Staff and Clients, P 1-3, 2000, Australian Institute of Criminology -- See NCJ-187936)

NCJ Number
Suzie Morris
Date Published
3 pages
The author describes what it is like to work as a woman in corrections in Australia, an enterprise that is dominated by males and the regimes they have constructed.
From a detox worker in a non-medical unit attached to a major Sydney (Australia) hospital, the author entered the Corrections Department of New South Wales to work in various health-related services for offenders. She learned that not all organizations emphasize the same criteria in selecting and promoting staff. She concluded that much of the reason for this is that those who make decisions that affect personnel have inadequate knowledge about the backgrounds, performance, and capabilities of all employees, and the costs of remedying such ignorance militate against hiring or promoting individuals from the disadvantaged groups about whom personnel managers have inadequate and stereotypical information. It might be expected that the longer a person has worked in an organization, the more such discrimination will diminish as the employee has an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency and shatter stereotypes; however, this often does not occur because the standards used to evaluate performance become more ambitious and task requirements become increasingly vague as a person moves up a hierarchy. Also, past expectations continue to influence behavior, and employers may escalate their commitment to bad choices to save face. Still, the author states that she has been given significant employment-related opportunities by men who care most about providing effective services to offenders in their charge. The author acknowledges, however, that her work life in corrections has not been easy.