The Politics of Criminal Justice - SOCI6870

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 6 30 (15) Simon Shaw checkmark-circle


This module traces the way in which criminal justice and criminal justice policy have become increasingly politicised in recent years. It utilises topics such as terrorism, dangerous offenders, penology and capital punishment to highlight the interaction between popular opinion, research, policy formation and the criminalisation of particular groups within society. The module will analyse the manner in which crime has become such an important issue on the political agenda, as well as examining the important role that pressure groups (such as NACRO and the Howard League for Penal Reform) have played in mediating political rhetoric and policy.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 44
Private Study Hours: 256
Total study hours:- 300


Optional module to BA (Hons) Criminal Justice & Criminology BSc (Hons) Social Sciences (Medway)

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay - 2,500 essay: 50%
Exam – three hours: 50%

Reassessment methods
100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Annison, H. (2015) Dangerous Politics: Risk, Political Vulnerability and Penal Policy Oxford: Clarendon Press
Barton, A. and Johns, N. (2012) The Policy Making Process in the Criminal Justice System London: Routledge
Hobbs, S. and Hamerton, C. (2014) The Making of Criminal Justice Policy London: Routledge
Jones, T. and Newburn, T. (2007) Policy Transfer and Criminal Justice Maidenhead: Open University Press
Newburn, T. and Rock, P. (eds.) (2006) The Politics of Crime Control Oxford: Oxford University Press
Pratt, J. (2007) Penal Populism. London: Routledge

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Critically assess how and why crime has become such an important issue on the political agenda
8.2 Understand and critically analyse different political perspectives on criminal justice
8.3 Analyse the implications of political agendas for criminal justice policy making
8.4 Critically analyse the criminal justice policy making process

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Demonstrate skills in written communication, utilising research, empirical data and information technology
9.2 Apply critical judgement to problems and debates
9.3 Independently access a range of suitable library and web-based resources for final year study and make judgements about the merits of the material obtained


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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