In order to demonstrate the main trends related to the role of female employees of community corrections facilities, the author employed the results of the study conducted by Norfolk State University`s Department of Criminal Justice based on the data collected from the Virginia Department of Corrections. It is noted, that the Department during the period from 1970s to early 1990s experienced a gradual change in its work force in regard to the increasing number of female employees who mostly occupied the positions of parole and probation officers, with a certain amount occupying executive-level positions. The author concludes, that since early 1990s the overall working environment has become far more favorable, considering the fact that women who were employed after 1994 demonstrate more confidence in their ability to seek career advancement than those women who were employed before 1994. Another factor which indicates the overall improvement of the working conditions is the enhancement of support systems and mentors assistance provided to the new female employees. The numbers indicate that the prevailing majority of new workers will be likely to receive a comprehensive mentorship on the initial stage of their careers. The study also demonstrates that there is a growing interest in upward career mobility. Young female workers do not limit themselves to entry-level positions and express confidence in the possibility of their promotion track.
Despite the existence of numerous issues related to the integration of females into the male-dominated community corrections workforce, the results of the study show that most of the barriers that prevent females from the adaption and integration are successfully surmounted, at least within the jurisdiction of Virginia. This effect was achieved due to the creation of favorable environment that facilitates a successful integration of female workers. The integration process includes the establishment of effective mentorship system for new workers, as well as the encouragement of female workers to pursue a career promotion along with the application of adequate organizational measures.
It seems that the author of the article is correct in identifying of the barriers that the females might face during their community corrections work. However, the following research obviously lacks a more comprehensive approach. Essentially, the author analyzed the data which demonstrates the current situation in a single jurisdiction. In order to assess the problem of research more objectively, we need to analyze statistical data from other jurisdictions. Only in this way it would possible to see a general state of affairs related to the issues of integration of women into community corrections workforce.
- Jo G. Holland, The Feminization of Community Work Force, Corrections Today, August 2008.