More women who work in corrections are attracted by the pay, benefits and opportunities for upward mobility. And many women are finding that working in a prison or jail is the best job they never really wanted.
“It’s a stereotype that women can’t be good correctional officers or can’t be as effective,” Amy Miller, an associate director with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), said.
“The best women officers aren’t the best because they are like men. Where women may lack size and strength, they make up for it in communications skills and flexibility – skills women often excel in.”
Miller will conduct a breakout session on “Gender-Specific Reasons Why Women are Successful Working in Corrections.” With more than 22 years of experience of working in California corrections, Miller will discuss how the role of correctional staff has transcended from someone who primarily uses size and strength to maintain control to a far more dynamic and complex job – one that requires sharp people skills. Miller’s session will identify gender differences, discuss how female-specific differences benefit staff and offenders in a correctional setting, and talk about the roles women have with their coworkers, supervisors and managers.
Miller is currently an associate director of Female Offender Programs and Services at CDCR. She started her career as a correctional officer in 1996 and worked her way up through the custody ranks reaching the position of warden at Centinela State Prison.
“I loved being a warden,” Miller said, adding that the sense of community at the prison was rewarding. “We did amazing things at Centinela State Prison. Every day, we were proud of what we did.”
Miller has been training staff for the majority of her career and embraces every opportunity to increase her knowledge base. She is a master trainer on topics including use of force, sexual harassment, ethics and the code of silence; has spoken at American Correctional Association conferences on transgender inmates and female reentry; and teaches on restrictive housing at the National Institute of Corrections.