ROCKVILLE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A longtime correctional officer who helped break down barriers when it came to women working in the state prison has been inducted into the Indiana Department of Corrections’ Hall of Fame.

Now retired, Linda Vermillion began working as a correctional officer in October 1978 at the Indiana State Farm at Putnamville. At the time, it was not an easy task for a woman to be taken seriously when applying to work in the state prison, and she was originally turned away. Unwilling to take no for an answer, the US Air Force veteran turned to a local Veteran’s Affairs Office for help.

Through the office, Linda was eventually hired, and although still marginalized due to her gender, she reportedly was a stellar employee right from the start.

Vermillion, later on, would apply for the correctional sergeant position, but again, due to her gender, was denied the chance to even interview for the opening. Vermillion joined a number of other female correctional officers and filed a class action lawsuit against the state of Indiana and the IDOC. That lawsuit would pave the way for future female staff to find promotional opportunities.

Linda became a personal protection instructor in 1983, and would later become a squad leader for ISF’s first all-female squad – the Purple Squad. While squad leader Linda received several commendations for her squad’s performance. In June 1985, Linda was promoted to the rank of sergeant, and in May 1988, she was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.

IDOC news release

Vermillion would go on to serve as an E-squad commander for a decade and by May 1994 she was promoted to the rank of Captain. Vermillion would also serve as an Honor Guard team leader until her retirement in 2021. Just before retiring, Vermillion used her vast experience and knowledge to teach classes for the Women in Leadership panel in the IDOC.

Many of the staff who worked closely with Captain Vermillion over the years affectionately refer to her as “Mama,” a title earned through her empathetic approach to leadership, and her genuine caring for the people around her.  She is responsible for successfully guiding many career paths over the years.

IDOC news release