T Nation

Should Women Work in a Male Prison


We had a discussion in my corrections class about that topic. I think women shouldn't work in a men's prison. Simply because, why would anyone tempt fate by having a female guard around a bunch of men who haven't touched a woman in years? Furthermore, could a female c/o really have the physical strength to stop an out of control male inmate that bench presses 400 pounds.

Picture this, let's say you have a male prison staffed by exclusively female c/o's. How long could order be kept? The only reason a female c/o could survive in a male prison is because of the male c/o's backing her up. I know, we all watched GI Jane (or some show like it) and saw a 120 pound woman beat up 10 200 pound men and think that's reality, but it's not.


They build prisons inside of kitchens now?


Severe Daddy issues.

I'm sure some women might shoe up an bitch about equality and whatnot, but some things are just stupid. If you're a woman, don't choose or think you can work controlling dangerous criminals, murders, armed robbers, and rapists. We all have something to prove, but that's just stupid.

Unless you're a big black lady, in which case I will do whatever you say, because I'm scared.


People qualified for the job should be able to work as corrections officers in male prisons.


Right, because the risks are the same for both sexes.

'Should' and 'Might not be a great idea' are two different things.


Absolutely not. They are a liability.

That said, they are no more a liability than a weaker male guard that can't control the 400lb inmate. And therein is the problem with "qualifying" anyone. The job is as much technical performance if not more than physical. So where is the cut off for relative strength for a "qualified" candidate? Most CO's cannot control that imaginary inmate one on one in your example. And women actually have an advantage where they can gain cooperation where a male guard might not.

I do believe it's a bad idea overall. I just don't know how you justify their exclusion other than to say "she's a woman, she shouldn't be working here", and that doesn't cut it.


I think the rape incentive should be enough.


I'm not aware of any real risk of a CO being raped. Men rape men in prison, does that make male CO's at risk for rape? I think your logic is flawed. CO's work in teams, units, platoons, whatever. It's not like some female CO will be assigned to the showers by herself to be "taken advantage of" :slight_smile:

I think the ONLY answer is to have standards for hire that apply across the board and are not adjusted for sex. If there is a physical element for qualification, it is the same for men AND women and it hasn't been watered down so that women can meet it. If they create a fair physical standard (to the extent the job is "physical") and as woman can pass that standard, she should not be precluded from employment.


That said, there IS an issue of potential impropriety where mixed sexes are involved. There have been cases of CO misconduct with opposite sex inmates. However, I'm guess such misconduct is pretty anomalous coming from a female to a male prisoner. Male CO's in female prisons would be at much higher risk for misconduct than their female counterparts in my opinion.


Probably an accurate opinion. I just might be biased on a certain issue.

But if the standards are the same for both sexes, sure, that makes sense, but I still don't think the inmates will treat them as equal.

It's not politically correct, or 'fair', but I think it's realistic. If a female CO works in a women's prison, perfect, but I think it's kind of silly for her to work in a male prison, and vice versa.


The only reason a woman c/o could survive in a mens prison is because she has male c/o's backing her up. If there were no female c/o's, would they be missed? Probably not. On the other hand, could an all female c/o force keep order in a mens prison? We all know the answer to that. And the only reason it probably hasn't been done is because it would destroy the politically correct doctrine that there are no differences between men and women except genitals.

It wouldn't look good to have an all female security force guarding a male prison and then the inmates take over the place and then you have to call male police officers to restore order and rescue the female "guards" that probably have been taken hostage and may be newly pregnant.


Don't you think a female CO could have an advantage over a male CO in gaining compliance in some situations? Many of these inmates haven't had the best mothers if their lives. Some of those mothers were probably here on Tnation posting attention whoring pics instead of buying formula and paying attention to junior. And look at the fucker now! But seriously, don't you think there'd be a natural inclination for a male inmate to yield to the reason of a woman in some situations and be less prone to be violent to a woman (barring sexual predators of course and the like)? Even criminals have some sense of chivalry. Unless you're a sexual predator or abuser, it's pretty difficult to be violent to a woman, not so difficult to wage violence against your fellow man, or male captor.

What got you on to this subject? I'm curious.


absolutely not.


interesting way to quarterback this thing but what is it about being a CO that you believe requires such high level "survival" skills? does bad shit happen in prison? yes. but the CO's invariably work in teams. the routine and procedures protect the institution, the inmates and the c/o's, NOT the physicality of any single c/o. so it's a bit of a fallacious argument to state that an all female c/o team cannot control a prison when the question is whether a female c/o can work effectively with a mixed c/o team and there be no drop off in performance or security. every c/o is not some hulking t-man. they drink their morning coffee and eat their jelly donut like a bunch of other fat ass security guards the world over.

me thinks you missed kima on The Wire pitching in to kick the ass of Bodie who had just punched the old alcoholic cop! Kima was kicking and punching with the best of them :slightly_smiling: LOL


I suppose, in minimum security situations, then yes, female psychology could be a plus. But dealing with 'dangerous' people, then, no, I think it's reckless. And the women that choose to do it have something SERIOUS they feel they have to prove. Otherwise, they'd work elsewhere or in a women's prison. I feel like men who want to work in a women's prison would have similar issues, by the way..

Ad, as far as personal interest, suppose someone I cared about was sexually assaulted. Like I said, I'm biased. But a woman should't set herself up for that shit, anymore than I would drop my pants in a dark alley and bend over.


The female guards are more sadistic then the male guards. They routinely abuse their power FAR more often in an attempt to gain "respect". LOL I've seen them make up shit and get inmates thrown in lock up, I've seen them plant drugs/weapons/contraband in inmates cells during a shakedown, I've even seen them FUCK inmates, get emotionally involved and later get that inmate transferred when things turn sour (as if having a consensual sexual relationship with an inmate was anything other than a disaster waiting to happen).

Most of the prisons that I was in had plenty of procedures/precautions that protected male and female guards alike - there's a special "response team" that storms in if some serious shit kicks off, and of course that's all men. The exception was "the Cut" in Jessup, MD. That place was off the fuckin' reservation. It was shut down shortly after I was released due to the number of guards (and inmates) getting stabbed.

Prison guards (for the most part, there are exceptions) are simply a bunch of dickheads that couldn't make it as cops. There is seriously something fucked up in the head with most of them. Male or female.


on top of which most female CO's are placed at the jails before moving on to partol beats such as with Sheriff Depts. I train a few of these girls and they have their shit really well together. What you can encounter in a jail is the exact same thing you can encounter on the street and/or worse. It has to do with preparation. They might as well get used to it.

Daddy issues is for strippers and porn stars not so much cops or CO's. A lot of em do it because they want to be a sheriff not watch dudes in prison all day. Females also have less tendency towards attack or hostage taking because a lot of people, despite their crimes, find hurting women to be wrong. Other male convicts will also confide in the female officers more and become more friendly.

There are also several instances where a female used her training correctly to deal with an attack from a male inmate. One instance that I can qoute was when a 300+ murder suspect had attacked the female gaurd and took her to the floor stabbing her several times in the process. She was able to grab hold of his hands and use outside 90 vs inside 90 to hold his weight as he took the shank and tried to drive it into her face. She held on until other officers got to her. Now is it only a women who that would have happened to?

No a male could have been in the same situation. Also the jails keep women around to see who will provoke trouble, like bait. If someone steps out of line with the female officers the male officers hand out punishment. A tactic used to weed out the problems. IF the females couldnt handle it they wouldnt do it, they wouldnt keep signing up for it etc. Im not saying they can do everything, I train a lot of SEALs and I think women have no place in SEALs. But dealing with general population in fucked up situations? Sure let em at it.


What conclusions were reached in this "discussion"?


I work in security and have to deal with some interesting characters sometimes and out in the real world I trust my instincts about people(who is dangerous and who isn't) and I can also trust my ability to charm most people. :slight_smile:

But I think I would be wary to try my charms and instincts in a prison. While I think there probably are some women who could do the job I would say not a good idea for most women.


As I said, I don't think a female CO is at any risk of rape whatsoever. They may risk assault like any c/o, but rape? No.



I worked security years ago with a guy that was a CO and member of that response team at a prison in central PA. He was a good dude (at least on the outside). Six foot five inches, and built like me. I was kicking this guinea douchebag out of the the club we worked once and got rushed by two of his buddies and pushed into the kitchen. Of course, the kitchen has knifes and other objects of danger. I let the douchebag go and just as I'm getting ready to unload the pain on a motherfucker, Art (the c/o) appears in a nick of time and lifts one fucker off his feet in a choke hold and the day is saved :slight_smile: He was one c/o I liked :slight_smile: