Women who have built careers in the field acknowledge the challenges in handling male inmates. They say the problems outlined by federal prosecutors belie the way they handle a dangerous job. It takes mental toughness and an armor of self-respect, they say. They work with men who are angry, mentally ill. Some can’t read or write. Many excel at manipulating people. “They call you a bitch,” said Schantel Lyons, a 36-year-old officer. “They call you a fat [expletive]. Some of them really get under your skin, but you’ve got to keep your composure.”
Women account for almost two-thirds of the corrections officers at some Maryland institutions, a proportion that illustrates how heavily the system has come to depend on them, says the Baltimore Sun. They have been in the spotlight after federal authorities charged 13 female officers in an alleged corruption scheme at the Baltimore City Detention Center.