Justice Department Forces Arkansas to End Discrimination Against Women Prison Guards

Faced with a Justice Department discrimination suit, the state of Arkansas decided on June 19 to hire 400 women guards in men’s prisons. In an agreement with the Justice Department, the state agreed to pay more than $20 million in back wages to women who, since 1983, did not receive jobs or promotions as prison guards. The Justice Department sued Arkansas two years ago for denying women jobs in prisons over a twelve-year period. The state’s prison system had prevented women from being correctional officers in male prisons. This policy impeded women prison guards from advancing because promotions are based on the ability to perform various jobs. At least six other states have faced similar lawsuits brought by the Justice Department.


The Associated Press - June 20, 1997

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