(BOP) - Deborah Blakney, Associate Warden (AW) at MCC Chicago, has been honored by Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) as the recipient of the "Outstanding Advocate for Women in Federal Law Enforcement Award." This prestigious award recognizes an individual's contributions toward eliminating systemic barriers to career opportunities for women in law enforcement and recognizes leadership and advocacy efforts to support, recruit and promote women in law enforcement.
Since her arrival at MCC Chicago in 2018, AW Blakney has been a strong advocate for a more gender-diverse workforce. She immediately initiated measures to increase recruitment, hiring and retention of women at MCC Chicago. Working closely with the Human Resources Department, Blakney focused on the agency's hiring needs, examined the potential barriers that exist for women in the agency, and explored strategies to create a sustained culture change that would lead to improved representation of women. She also assessed the practices utilized by other industries and agencies to promote the hiring of women, such as sending more female recruiters from the institution to attend job fairs and educating both male and female recruiters on the issues and concerns potential female applicants may have in working in a correctional setting. As a result, in 2019, 41% of new hires for MCC Chicago were female, with the majority of those being new employees to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
AW Blakney began her career in the BOP as a teacher, and was promoted to positions of increasing responsibility at several institutions before assuming the position of AW at MCC Chicago in 2018. She utilizes her interpersonal skills and experiences to mentor women who accept the challenges of working in federal law enforcement and assist them with developing their own leadership skills. AW Blakney is a valued leader at MCC Chicago and a role model. She is to be commended for her exceptional leadership, superior staff training efforts and significant contributions to women in law enforcement and the BOP.