A STUDY OF SELECTED CAREER VARIABLES OF A SAMPLE OF INCARCERATED WOMEN (COUNSELING, CORRECTIONS, VOCATIONAL, PRISON)
The purpose of this study was to compare and contrast the vocational personality and career interests of a sample of incarcerated women with those of nonincarcerated working women as assessed by a standardized instrument, the Career Assessment Inventory. A concomitant objective of the study was to improve the match between career interests and vocational training programs for female offenders in order to increase job satisfaction and reduce the possibility of a return to crime for economic reasons. The sample consisted of 100 women incarcerated at four penal institutions: Maryland Correctional Institute for Women; Broward Correctional Institute, Florida; Montgomery County Detention Center, Maryland; and Miami/Dade County Women's Detention Center, Florida. Five hypotheses were tested. An analysis of the data found that the career interests of the female offenders differed significantly with regard to four of the six General Theme Scales of the CAI, Conventional, Social, Enterprising, and Investigative, with the offenders scoring substantially higher than working women on the four scales. The results showed that first, incarcerated women are traditionally oriented in their choice of occupation and prefer conventional jobs. Second, female offenders are no more interested in "Realistic" or nontraditional jobs than are women in general, despite the current trend in corrections to offer more nontraditional training programs. The expectation that incarcerated women would score lower on the "Investigative" scale than working women was not supported. This can be attributed to the inordinate interest manifested by the offenders in computer-related jobs, many of which fall into the Investigative area. The indication is that correctional vocational programs would be more successful if they considered both the career interests of those for whom they are intended and job market forecasts. Those areas most preferred by the study population--Conventional, Social, and Enterprising--are the ones which are expected to see the heaviest demand for workers in the next 20 years according to the U.S. Department of Labor.