News 5 Investigates: Why More Women are Taking One of the Most Dangerous Jobs on the Gulf Coast

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A News 5 Investigation is showing you one of the most dangerous places to work along the Gulf Coast. We are talking about Mobile Metro Jail. Most of the inmates who come through the jail every year are men. Despite that, most of the corrections officers are women. In fact, seventy percent of the officers are females.

Warden Trey Oliver describes Metro Jail, as a “hellhole.” He says, “You are working in hell on earth with a group of people that outnumber, are bigger than you, don’t respect you, and cannot follow the rules.” Oliver says often times, females are able to put up with more. “With the female officer, you typically have a little more understanding, and if you want to say, a motherly mindset.”

Captain Sadie Stallworth is one of the two female Captains in charge of the jail. She’s been there thirty-one years. She says she takes on a motherly and fatherly role. She can be nurturing, but she can also turn “fatherly” on a dime when necessary. “The inmates know we are not here to play with them. When you are in here, we tell you what to do. We mean business.”

Sergeants Pamela Lafitte and Ashanta McGee both say being a woman in a male-dominated prison isn’t a problem for them. They both say they have learned the confidence to deal with a mostly male inmate population. They feel women can often de-escalate a situation better than a man could. “We, as women, we know how to talk,  to set up and maintain, make eye contact…to persuade them to change the situation. Men can’t do that.” Sgt. Lafitte says the inmates have no trouble realizing that the female corrections officers are serious. “We have to make sure the inmates know we are consistent, and that we do mean business.”

News 5 talked to several female officers inside Metro, and they say their jobs have turned into a career. They also feel they are making a difference. Captain Stallworth says, “When they (the inmates) return to the free world, I hope they will take away something from here that will prevent them from coming back.” Sgt. McGee says,  “I know my purpose here, why I have stayed so long. It is just to touch that one somebody.” Sgt. LaFitte adds, “I love my job. I love what I do because you are giving back to the community.”

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