chapter  5
27 Pages

Prison officers and gender

BySarah Tait

This chapter discusses the relevance of gender to the experience, perceptions and effects of prison officer work. Some twenty years have passed since the introduction of ‘cross-posting’, and the implications for officer relationships with each other and with prisoners are largely unexplored. Studies on gender and prison staff have tended to focus on questions of the relative competence of male and female officers rather than how gender shapes the accomplishment and experience of prison work. Apart from privacy concerns for women prisoners, little research has addressed male officer work in female prisons. There has been a dependence on surveys and measures of perception rather than qualitative inquiry, such that the role of the institutional environment, or culture, has been missing in the analysis of gender in prison officer work.