Women needed at jail

There are not enough women at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. The facility needs more female guards.

There are not enough women at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

The facility needs more female guards.

So, advanced education is throwing $69,450 at the Community Training Fund to create a pilot program for women interested in becoming correctional officers.

But the new program won’t actually train the women.

Instead, it will answer three basic questions: “What is a career as a correctional officer about? Is the job right for me? How do I get started?” according to a government news release.

The push to hunt down more female guards comes less than a year before the expected completion of a new women’s living unit at the jail.

The unit will be a separate facility built to house nine low- to medium-security female inmates. It requires nine female staff.

Women guards already at the jail will be given first choice of where they want to work, said Justice spokesperson Chris Ross.

The need for more female correctional officers to staff the new women’s unit is driving the launch of the $69,450 pilot program, added Ross.

The three-week program “will explore the dynamics of working in a correctional environment, the role of the correctional officer and how the training and skills learned as a correctional officer can be applied in other careers,” said the release.

“The program will also include modules on personal wellness, First Nations’ cultures and work preparation.”

It is not clear whether it will also address the issue of harassment at the jail.

“If I came in looking cranky, certain male guards would say, ‘What’s the matter, didn’t you get laid last night?’ said former jail guard Cindy Chaisson, in a past interview with the News.

“And they’d say it in front of inmates.”

Another guard told her, “It’s no wonder you don’t get laid—you might if you lose some weight.”

Chaisson didn’t know she could report the abuse to the Human Rights Commission until another female guard did just that.

“There are human rights complaints against the jail because of how female guards are treated by older male guards,” she said.

“There’s a lot of power-tripping up there.”

A total of 20 women will be accepted into the new pilot program—10 from Whitehorse, five from Dawson and five from Watson Lake.

The deadline for registration is March 25. For more information call 456-8601.

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com

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