Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice - SOCI5490

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 5 30 (15) Simon Shaw checkmark-circle


This module is concerned with contemporary issues, developments, practices and research in criminal justice. In line with current policy developments it will address the connections between criminal justice policies and other policy developments and critically examine 'new' policy initiatives including such measures as community crime prevention; developments to involve and protect the victims of crime; moves towards broader conceptualisations of justice, including reconceptualisations of crime as social harm. The module examines contemporary policy developments in sentencing, hate crime, racism in criminal justice practices, amongst other issues.


Contact hours

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


BA Criminal Justice & Criminology, BSc Social Sciences

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Essay – 2,500 words: 40%
Seminar Group Presentation – 15 minutes: 10%
Exam: three hours: 50%

Reassessment methods
100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Case, S., Johnson, P., Manlow, D., Smith, R. and Williams, K. (eds.) (2017) Criminology Oxford: Oxford University Press
Cavadino, M., Dignan,J. and Mair, G. (2013) The Penal System: an introduction (5th edition) London: Sage Publications
Chakraborti, N. and Garland, J. (2015) Hate Crime: Impact, causes and responses London: Sage
Henham, R. (2013) Sentencing: Time for a paradigm shift London: Routledge
Liebling, A., Maruna, S. and McAra, L. (eds.) (2017) Oxford Handbook of Criminology (6th edition) Oxford: Oxford University

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 evaluate contemporary criminal justice policies and developments.
8.2 Demonstrate an in depth understanding of the complexities of the way the criminal justice
system operates and develops
8.3 Critically assess the competing theories of punishment and social control mechanisms.
8.4 Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing the modern criminal justice system

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1Synthesise items of knowledge from different schools and disciplines of enquiry.
9.2 Demonstrate skills in regard to the organisation of information in a clear and coherent manner, through essay writing, and seminar based group discussion.
9.3 Communicate effectively, in terms of organising information in a clear and coherent way, responding to written sources and presenting information orally.
9.4 Conduct basic research by using library, e-journals and other on-line resources.
9.5 Demonstrate an understanding of how theory and research can generate solutions to problems.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 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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