Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Inmate-perpetrated harassment: Exploring the gender-specific experience of female correction officers
by Chapman, Sarah Billingsley, Ph.D., City University of New York, 2009, 149; 3349505
Abstract (Summary)

Perhaps no other work environment is as mysterious to non-participants as is the institute of corrections in America. Other than the officers and inmates of a correctional institution, few people understand, or even care to venture into, the dynamics of a prison or jail. Because of this disregard, many important sociological studies have failed to explore the correctional institution as a legitimate workplace. In particular, sexual harassment studies have all but neglected the correctional workplace. Nevertheless, as in any work environment, sexual harassment is a significant issue in jails and prisons, even more commonplace and more often ignored than that harassment in other workplaces. Furthermore, a significant portion of harassment against female correction officers is perpetrated, not by their coworkers, but by the inmates for whom these officers are responsible.

This exploratory research effort utilizes a questionnaire to examine the nature and consequences of inmate-perpetrated sexual harassment against female correction officers. The respondents to the study’s questionnaire indicate the existence of a significant amount of sexual harassment perpetrated against female correction officers by male inmates. Yet, the majority of the sample group were reluctant to identify either their experiences as sexual harassment or themselves as victims of such harassment. From the combined analysis of the quantitative and qualitative responses of 21 female officers of the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center in Lafayette, LA, the study proposes the existence of a labeling disjunction among female correction officers with respect to their perceptions of the sexual misconduct of male inmates. This study concludes with recommendations for both future research and policy developments that may enhance general understanding and management of inmate-perpetrated sexual harassment against female correction officers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mooney, Jayne
Commitee: Benton, Ned, O'Connor, Maureen
School: City University of New York
Department: Criminal Justice
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 70/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Criminology
Keywords: Correction officers, Corrections, Prison, Sexual harassment, Women, Women corrections officers
Publication Number: 3349505
ISBN: 978-1-109-05271-8
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