Preferences of prison inmates for male versus female institutional personnel

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Preferences of 4 categories of California prison inmates (139 male felons, 81 male civil addicts, 77 female felons, and 89 female civil addicts) for institutional employees of the same sex vs the opposite sex were examined for 49 staff roles and functions. Although most comparisons suggest either neutrality or a tendency to favor opposite-sex personnel, a trend appeared to reflect common sex role stereotypes. There was considerable variability in Ss' responses. Felons, especially males, tended to be less accepting of cross-sex employee assignments than civilly committed narcotic addicts, particularly in regard to duties that involve intrusion on the physical privacy of inmates. It is suggested that the attitudes of prisoners, as well as other aspects of institutional social climates, should be assessed periodically, both in planning for specific changes and in attempting to maintain custodial environments that are maximally responsive to the legitimate needs of inmates. (7 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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