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CDCR launches women recruitment initiative

Four female correctional officer cadets prepare to graduate the academy.
Female CDCR cadets from Echo Company wait for the graduation ceremony to start.

CDCR is launching an initiative to increase the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in law enforcement.

Secretary Jeffrey Macomber has signed a “30×30” pledge, which sets a goal to have women make up 30 percent of correctional officer cadets by 2030. Further, CDCR will work to ensure the Department is representative of the jurisdictions it serves by taking steps to improve gender equity and implement strategies and solutions to advance women in the department.

CDCR exceeds national average, but improvement needed

Currently, women make up of 17 percent of CDCR’s sworn officers and 19 percent of correctional leadership classifications. While higher than the national average of 12 percent of sworn officers and 3 percent of police leadership in the U.S. being women, CDCR is committed to improving even more.

“CDCR recognizes the importance of focusing on the underrepresentation of women in corrections. We are proud to join the 30×30 pledge,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Macomber. “CDCR is already taking steps to fulfill our commitment by establishing a strategic campaign to achieve our goal.”

Workgroups are being formed with CDCR field and headquarters employees to focus on recruitment, hiring, promotion, retention, and culture through collaboration with other participating law enforcement agencies.

For example, the workgroups will examine the current state of the department. They will look at gender equity, identify factors that may be driving disparities, and develop best practices to increase representation of women.

The 30×30 Initiative is affiliated with the Policing Project at NYU School of Law and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives.

“We are grateful to CDCR for committing to join this growing movement,” said Maureen McGough, co-founder of the 30×30 Initiative, chief of strategic initiatives of the Policing Project at the NYU School of Law, and former policing expert at the U.S. Department of Justice. “We believe strongly that advancing women in policing is critical to improving public safety outcomes. We look forward to having more agencies follow CDCR’s lead by signing the pledge and working to improve the representation and experiences of women in policing.”

CDCR recruiters attend female-focused events

Recruitment teams are increasing attendance at female-targeted events, such as Breast Cancer Awareness walks, women’s conferences and expos. Recruitment efforts also include advertising during women’s sporting events, and partnering with female-specific organizations.

“Joining the 30×30 pledge opens the door for CDCR to collaborate with over 280 law enforcement agencies across the U.S.,” said Rosanna Rodriguez from CDCR’s Office of Peace Officer Selection. “This will provide us the ability to follow best practices in efforts such as data analysis, surveying personnel on experiences, identifying root causes, and conclude with the culmination of a strategic plan over the next two years to meet the goals of this initiative.”

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