“In general, when the men do these things, the men do it to make the money,” said Spadaro, who is the head of the Broward County (Fla.) Department of Detention, where about 34 percent of the officers are female. “The women do it because they’ve fallen in love.”
There was surely some of that in this Baltimore case. According to the indictment, investigators found an operating manual of sorts used by BGF that detailed “how new BGF recruits are taught to target a specific stereotype of a CO [correctional officer], specifically women with low self-esteem, insecurities and certain physical attributes.”
Once seduced, the women saw themselves as the wives and girlfriends of White and his associates.
In a jail like Baltimore’s, where local convicts are guarded by local officers, there’s a toxic social dynamic, Smith reminded me. On the outside, in these communities where women far outnumber men, the men have all the cards, she said. But when the men are locked up and women have the keys, the scenario is flipped.
Seduction may be about power, Smith said. A woman can have any man she wants. And he’s usually begging for her attention.
Remember Abu Ghraib and Army Pfc. Lynndie R. England
, who was a 21-year-old reservist when pictures surfaced of her holding a leash tied to the neck of a naked Iraqi prisoner?
What was missing there is the same thing that has been missing at the Baltimore City Detention Center: oversight.
Female guards aren’t really the problem; incompetent bosses are. If women weren’t there, White and BGF might have been trying to figure out a way to use money and power to corrupt male guards.
As long as there has been work, there have been men who have screwed it up. Dirty cops, corrupt bankers, shady businessmen, filthy politicians, molesting dentists. At no point do we say, “Men don’t belong in this field.”
Quite simply, corrupt people don’t belong in this field. And these female guards need to get booted as far and as hard as any man would.
To read previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/dvorak.