Drugs, Crime and the Criminal Justice System - SOCI6541

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 5 15 (7.5) Alex Stevens checkmark-circle


This module will provide an overview of drug-related offending and the rehabilitation of offenders in the context of wider society. There will be a critical exploration of the relationship between drugs and crime and the effectiveness of treatment in the context of reducing criminality. It will review the laws relating to drug offences and look in detail at the development of government policy linking the criminal justice agenda with treatment. The module will also consider international approaches to the drug-crime link, and address the importance of gender and ethnicity in relation to drug offences.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 22
Private Study Hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


Optional module for the following courses:
BA Criminology and associated courses
BA Cultural Studies and Media and associated courses
BA Sociology and associated courses

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Coursework - Essay (2,500 words) - 30%
Exam (two hours) - 50%
Coursework - Seminar Participation- 20%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment instrument: 100% exam

Indicative reading

Bennett, Trevor & Holloway, Katy (2005) Understanding Drugs, Alcohol and Crime, Maidenhead: Open University Press
Hammersley, Richard (2008). Drugs and crime: Theories and practices Bristol: Polity Press
Hucklesby, Anthea & Wincup, Emma (eds) (2010). Drug interventions in criminal justice, Maidenhead, Open University Press
MacGregor, Susanne (2017), The Politics of Drugs: Perceptions, Power and Policies, London: Palgrave,
Stevens, Alex (2011) Drugs, Crime and Public Health: The Political Economy of Drug Policy. London: Routledge

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes are as listed below.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1 demonstrate critical understanding of the main theories of the relationship between drugs and crime
2 critically evaluate strategies for tackling the drug-crime link, especially with regard to issues of equality and diversity
3 demonstrate a critical understanding of international comparisons in the area of drug control and treatment

The intended generic learning outcomes are as listed below.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1 demonstrate skills in detailed research and analytical, especially the ability to link theory and practice.
2 demonstrate advanced problem-solving skills and critical awareness.
3 Demonstrate abilities in oral communication of research and analysis.


  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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