The role of women in the criminal justice industry has changed drastically over the last two decades. What was once considered a purely male-dominated profession has now discovered the need for women to fill positions in nearly all areas of the field. While the majority of careers in criminal justice continue to be dominated by men, there has been a major increase in job opportunities offering career advancements for women.
Just as with any industry, the more diverse the workforce, backgrounds, and educational levels, the more viewpoints will be available for situational problem solving. In the case of women in criminal justice related roles, this means new ideas and fresh outlooks where once only the male perspective was considered. This new dynamic will aid in combating a fresh wave of criminals, a large portion of which are now women.
While the number of women accepting roles in the criminal justice workforce is still relatively small, their ranks are growing. Plymouth State University criminal justice professor Stephanie Halter was recently quoted as saying, “women comprise only 11% of police officers, 24% of correctional officers and 25% of legal professionals across the country.” However, according to allcareerschools.com, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting that job growth in law enforcement alone will be 9-17% by 2014, allowing more jobs to be filled by women.
This growth is based largely in part to much higher numbers of women being housed in state and federal prisons. In fact, in a recent study completed by The Sentencing Project, an organization advocating research and reform in the criminal justice system, the female prison population has increased at an annual rate of 4.6% from 1995 to 2005, leaving more than 200,000 women incarcerated, and more than a million on some form of supervision.
These numbers indicate that demand for women in criminal justice related work is expected to remain high, even during economic downturns. Women with diverse working and educational backgrounds will be required to fill new as well as existing roles within the system. Almost all sectors of business and society these days, whether it is in technology, hospitality, travel, finance, national security, or any number of other industries, are in need of professionals trained not only to protect people, but assets, products, identities, and copyrights. This positive criminal justice job outlook will continue to create a variety of stable career opportunities for women in almost all areas of the field.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.
The Sentencing Project. “Women in the Criminal Justice System.” [Online] May, 2007. http:www.sentencingproject.org/Admin/Documents/Publications/womenincj_total.pdf.
“Become A Law Enforcement Officer.” [Online] http://allcareerschools.com/career-center/acjs/law-enforcement/law-enforcement-career
“Women Encouraged To Pursue Criminal Justice Careers.” [Online] 19 Nov. 2008. http://www.livecareer.com/new/Criminal-Justice-Legal/Women-Encouraged-To-Pursue-Criminal-Justice-Careers_$$00509.aspx.