Module SXY-1007:
Intro to Criminal Justice

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Bethan Loftus

Overall aims and purpose

This module is intended to provide Year One students with a sound understanding of the ways in which, within England and Wales, crime comes to the attention of the authorities, how crime is measured, how crime is policed, how accused persons are brought to trial, and those who are convicted are sentenced and punished.

The module takes an historical overview of the origins of criminal law, the police, the criminal courts and the prison, examining the significant social, economic, and philosophical changes that have helped to shape the modern criminal justice and penal system. It examines the functions of the criminal justice agencies, explores some of the predominant ideas and theories about how the systems operate and raises critical questions about the ways in which criminal justice is done and punishment is delivered.

Course content

Summary of course content: • Criminal law, the crime funnel, and the criminal justice process • The emergence of the police • Policing today, and the Crown Prosecution Service • Miscarriages of justice • Courts and sentencing policy • Sentencing provisions and theories of sentencing • Desistance • Restorative Justice • After sentencing – from probation to parole

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Provide an account of the origins of the criminal justice system and the principles and practices of punishment; explain the basic structure of the criminal justice system; demonstrate an awareness of the main criminal justice models; provide a basic account of economic, social and philosophical factors and demonstrate an awareness of their significance in relation to criminal justice and penal policy; present spoken and written material clearly, focusing on major points relevant to the question or argument; locate basic sources of information and produce appropriately formatted and referenced work. Show an understanding of some of the main criminological explanations of why crime is committed, and explain some of the main similarities and differences between these theories; demonstrate a basic understanding of the ways in which crime is defined within society; show an awareness of the impact of crime on some members of society; examine media reports of crime; present spoken and written material in a clear manner, focusing on some of the major relevant issues; locate basic sources of information and produce appropriately formatted and referenced work.

good

Provide a comprehensive account of the histories of crime, criminal law and the criminal justice and penal systems and to demonstrate some awareness of their underpinning rationales; describe the various agencies involved in the criminal justice process and explain with accuracy their primary roles and functions; explain and evaluate the main criminal justice models; explain and appreciate the ways in which historic factors in general and in particular have impacted upon criminal justice and punishment; speak and write in fluent prose, summarising material and arguments competently; search databases efficiently, contribute effectively within a group. Show a good understanding of some of the main criminological explanations of why crime is committed, and explain and evaluate some of the main similarities and differences between these theories; demonstrate a thorough understanding of the ways in which crime is defined within society; show a clear appreciation of the impact of crime on some members of society; examine media reports of crime and comment on the ways in which images of crime are constructed; present spoken and written material in a clear and competent manner, focusing on some of the major relevant issues; locate a wide range of sources of information and produce written work that is properly referenced and presented.

excellent

Provide a comprehensive account of the histories of crime, criminal law, criminal justice and penal processes, and demonstrate some awareness of their underpinning rationales, examine agencies involved in the criminal justice and penal processes; provide an evaluative account of theoretical concepts in relation to criminal justice and punishment and suggest examples of their application to contemporary issues; explain and appreciate the ways in which historic factors in general and in particular have impacted and continue to impact on the criminal justice process; to speak and write in fluent prose, summarising material and arguments competently; search databases efficiently; contribute effectively within a group. Provide a comprehensive account of some of the main criminological explanations of why crime is committed, and analysed some of the main similarities and differences between these theories; demonstrate a competent understanding of the ways in which crime is defined within society; show a clear appreciation of the impact of crime on society in general and groups such as victims in particular; examine media reports on crime and critically comment on the ways in which images of crime are constructed; make oral and written presentations of relatively complex material in a clear and competent manner, identifying and focusing on some of the major relevant issues; work independently to locate a wide range of sources of information, and produce properly referenced written work that is of a good standard.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the foundations of criminological thought.

  2. Show an understanding of the ways in which crime has been defined and constructed in legal, social, political and historical contexts.

  3. Examine the impact of crime on society, including victims of crime.

  4. Identify key concepts relating to the criminal justice, legal and penal systems.

  5. Thoroughly understand the nature, roles, and obligations of contemporary agencies of the criminal justice, legal and penal systems.

  6. Understand and be able to apply key criminal justice models.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT Book Review 50
ESSAY Essay 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Seminar

Interactive seminars with student contribution

24
Lecture

Lecture

12
Private study

Private study

164

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Be able to recognize how social data and sociological knowledge apply to questions of public policy.
  • Use the theories and concepts of social policy and other social sciences to analyse policy problems and issues
  • Undertake either on their own, or in collaboration with others, investigations of social questions, issues and problems, using statistical and other data derived from research publications.
  • Analyse and discuss social policy and related issues distinguishing between normative and empirical questions
  • The ability to identify criminological problems, formulate questions and investigate them
  • Competence in using criminological theory and concepts to understand crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance; and representations of crime, victimisation, and responses to these, as presented in the traditional and new media and official reports
  • The capacity to analyse, assess and communicate empirical information about crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance, and representations of crime
  • the main forms of sentence and alternatives; the governance, roles and structure of the agencies involved; and offenders' experiences of adjudication and sentence
  • representations of victimisation, crime and deviance, and of the main agents and institutions which respond to crime and deviance, as found in the mass media, new media, in official reports and in public opinion
  • awareness of how political and cultural values - including the student's own have an impact on responses to and rival interpretations of safety and security, crime
  • control, policing, criminal and youth justice, sentencing, and alternative responses
  • to offending
  • the development of criminology as a distinct area of study and inquiry, and its multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary nature
  • alternative theoretical approaches within criminology, and contemporary debates about the content and scope of criminology
  • how crime, deviance and victimisation are socially and legally constructed the different sources of information about crime and victimisation, both quantitative and qualitative, and how they are produced - including their location in particular legal, political, social and ideological frameworks - and how they can be interpreted
  • trends in crime, harm and victimisation
  • different forms of crime and their social organisation
  • different theoretical and empirical approaches to the study, analysis and explanation of crime, deviance, harm and victimisation
  • relationships of crime, deviance and offending, and victimisation to social divisions such as: age, gender, sexuality, social class, race, ethnicity and religious faith
  • the development, role, organisation and governance of efforts to reduce and prevent crime, deviance and harm, and to ensure personal and public safety and security in different locations; the role of the state and non-governmental agencies
  • the social and historical development of the main institutions involved in crime control in different locations
  • the philosophy and politics of criminalisation, victimisation, criminal justice and modes of punishment
  • the use of discretion in relation to justice processes, including issues of discrimination and diversity
  • governance of criminal and youth justice, and other crime control processes
  • the development of penal and alternative policies in different locations and their relationship to social change

Resources

Resource implications for students

There are no resource implications.

Talis Reading list

http://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/sxy-1007.html

Reading list

https://rl.talis.com/3/bangor/lists/7F3BFA5A-9C57-832B-D9F9-D9A983083A1B.html

Core Texts: Ashworth, A. (2010). Sentencing and Criminal Justice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available through library as e-book. Ashworth, A & Redmayne, M (2010). The Criminal Process. 4th ed. Oxford: OUP. 3rd edition (2005) available in hard copy in the library. Cavadino, M. & Dignan, J. (2007). The Penal System: An Introduction. 4th ed. London: Sage. Available in library as hard copy. Maguire, M., Morgan, R. & Reiner, R. (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Selected chapters. Various editions available in library as hard copy. Newburn, T. (Ed.). The Handbook of Policing. 2nd ed. Cullompton: Willan. Selected chapters. Available through library as e-book. Rowe, M. (2004). Policing, Race and Racism. Cullompton: Willan. Available in library as hard copy. Sanders, A., Young, R. & Burton, M. (2010). Criminal Justice. 4th ed. Oxford: OUP. Available in library as hard copy. Wahidin, A. & Carr, N. (2013). Understanding Criminal Justice. Abingdon: Routledge. Available in library as hard copy and e-book

Each lecture/notes will also contain further relevant references (see module outline)

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Pre-requisite of:

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: