10 things female correctional officers should know

Tips and insight from female officers to others, whether they're just starting their careers or are well-salted veterans

By C1 Staff

There is no question that women have successful careers in the corrections field, as correctional officers, supervisors, probation officers and more.

We took to Facebook to ask our readers what advice they would offer other female correctional employees, whether they are considering a job in corrections or if they are veterans. Here are the top responses.

10. Wear your uniform one size larger than you usually would. This isn’t just for comfort and convenience during shakedowns when going on or off shift; it’s also to prevent any lingering gazes from inmates.

9. This job isn’t for everyone; you’re going to see the worst of the worst, along with those who’ve simply made bad decisions. You’ll be faced with this every day, and that will change you, probably in ways you won’t expect or maybe even notice.

8. Know your facility’s policies and stick to them. Do everything by procedure. Doing so will keep you safe, hopefully, both in the physical sense and from potential lawsuits.

7. Being a CO is a very physical job; your height likely won’t be useful in intimidating inmates, but being in good physical shape can. Also, just being in good shape can also save your life in a physical confrontation.

6. You earned your right to wear the uniform just like everyone else, regardless of gender; don’t let the comments of others, inmates or officers, get under your skin. You’re here to do a job, so do it and do it well, and let the rude comments slide off your back.

5. Always file reports when you have a concern and don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. Doing both will help define who you are as an officer: it explains what you will and won’t stand for, and also leaves a paper trail in your own defense should anything happen.

4. It’s OK to be scared. Not being scared can lead to complacency, and that’s a slippery slope to letting an accident happen where someone could get hurt or, worse, killed. Being scared keeps you on your toes, alert and aware.

3. It’s all about character; be the officer that others want to emulate, that inmates respect, that gets the job done and goes home at the end of the shift safely and secure in the knowledge that she’s working to make the world a better place.

2. Be consistent with inmates; live, eat and breathe the motto, "firm, fair and consistent." As an officer, these are words you should live by, whether you’re dealing with an inmate, a fellow officer, or management.

1. The media is all too ready to run with the idea that female COs are willing to develop intimate relationships with male inmates; be the officer that defies this stereotype.

This article, originally published 02/20/2015, has been updated.

Recommended for you

Copyright © 2022 Corrections1. All rights reserved.