Top 10 things you didn’t know about women in corrections


1. CSC records indicate that Miss Jean Roy (above) was the first woman to work at national headquarters. She was hired as an accountant for the Canadian Penitentiary Service in the 1920s. She resigned in 1931 so that she could move to England to get married. Jean’s work was greatly respected and appreciated, as is shown in a letter about her departure.

2. The first female employee in a Canadian penitentiary was Mrs. Ann Elmhirst, the first Matron at the “Provincial Penitentiary of Upper Canada” (i.e. Kingston Penitentiary). She was hired on Sept. 30, 1835.

3. Susan Turner, Hannah Downes, and Hannah Baglen were the first three women to be incarcerated at Kingston Penitentiary in 1835 (almost 100 years prior to the opening of the Prison for Women across the street). They were all serving one to two years for larceny. (source: CSC).

4. The first formal training class for female corrections officers took place in November 1960. Staff attending were “matrons” at the Kingston Prison for Women. (source: Let’s Talk Express).

5. The first eight female correctional officers to work in a male institution in Canada were deployed to the Regional Psychiatric Centre in the Prairie Region. They began training at the staff college in Edmonton and graduated in May 1978 (source: Canadian Penitentiary Museum)


6. As the first female correctional officers began working in male institutions, it wasn’t always the inmates who were the issue. In fact, the issue was more their male colleagues. Read Elizabeth and Marg’s stories.

7. The 1990 report Creating Choices established a new correctional philosophy for women offenders. Its principles continue to be the driving force behind a number of advances in federal corrections for women offenders.

8. The Mother-Child Program was implemented in women’s institutions in 1997. It is offered at all five women’s institutions in Canada as well as the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge for Aboriginal Women.  


9. Meachel Chad is CSC’s first female Regional Commander of the Guard of Honour. She works at Fraser Valley Institution and has been employed with CSC since 2002. (source: Let’s Talk Express).

10. 21 years ago, only 26% of CSC’s frontline staff were women. Today it’s 39%. (source: Human Resources Management Sector, CSC)

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