A man’s world : female correctional officers in New Zealand men’s prisons. (2020)
AuthorsDowd, Oliviashow all
As an influx of women entered the workforce in the 1960s, many began to emerge in what were considered traditionally male occupations: as policewomen, military personnel, and as correctional officers. In New Zealand, female officers have long been employed in women’s prisons, however, the first female officer employed in a men’s prison was in 1985, at Wi Tako Prison. Following this, women have steadily been introduced into this role.
Although international literature, particularly in the US is available, little research has been undertaken in New Zealand around the employment of female correctional officers in men’s prisons. This thesis seeks to fill this gap, by producing a comprehensive social history of the emergence of female correctional officers in New Zealand, and the impact these officers have had. Despite the role of correctional officers once often being considered as a solely male occupation, this thesis establishes that the introduction of female officers into men’s facilities in New Zealand from 1985 has had a positive impact.
Using a comprehensive analysis of sources this thesis outlines the factors leading to the influx of women into the workforce in the 1960s, before providing an in depth history of female correctional officers both internationally and in New Zealand. Basing its conclusions mainly on qualitative data, this thesis argues that female officers had a significant impact on men’s prisons, in regard to inmates, fellow officers and administration, and the overall prison environment.
The research undertaken for this thesis involved a historical analysis of government papers and legislation, New Zealand archives, newspaper articles, international and New Zealand literature, department reports, and information gained under the Official Information Act from the last century. This was accompanied by thirteen comprehensive interviews with retired New Zealand correctional officers, both male and female.