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Keywords:

  • female prison officers;
  • history;
  • local prisons;
  • role and daily duties of officers

Abstract

This article examines the working lives of female prison officers between 1877 and 1939. It documents a relatively under-researched, but important, period in the history of women's imprisonment in England. In doing so it aims to uncover the working lives of female officers, the role and daily duties of officers, the development of training schools for female staff and to understand the ambiguous role of officers in the ‘reform’ of prisoners during these decades. The research contextualises the work of the female officer within the changing female prison estate and declining female prison population in this period and examines the ways in which gender and class combined in prison work.