American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 522–538 | Cite as

Perceptions of Gender Bias in the Promotional Process of a Detention Staff

  • Adam DobrinEmail author
  • Justin J. Smith
  • Jennifer H. Peck
  • Ken Mascara


With growing numbers of female staff in correctional settings, issues relating to promotional fairness are certain to occur. Historically, female detention staff held perceptions of being discriminated against in the promotional process due to gender biases. However, there is almost no recent examination of these perceptions. The current study addresses this shortcoming in the literature by using a sample of 362 sworn detention deputies ranked Sergeant and below at a large southern-central United States jail. Contrary to the data from a generation ago, more male detention staff perceive gender biases in the promotional process than females, and report that promotional decisions are based on arbitrary and informal factors. Women are more likely to perceive promotions to be fair and based on merit. Results are discussed in relation to two theoretical perspectives: the importation-differential experiences model, and the work-role prisonization model.


Gender Correctional staff Jail employees Perceptions Promotion Bias 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Dobrin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Justin J. Smith
    • 2
  • Jennifer H. Peck
    • 2
  • Ken Mascara
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Criminal JusticeUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  3. 3.Fort PierceUSA

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