Sociology

Alternatives to Incarceration

Module code: L4111A
Level 6
30 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

The penal imagination is dominated by the prison, yet it is but the tip of the criminal justice iceberg. This module traverses the keel.

In this module, you develop a critical understanding of the contexts, critical arguments and theories behind processing offenders outwith the prison.

You focus on real world practice, covering topics that are drawn from such interrelated areas of:

  • offender supervision
  • community payback
  • managing sex offenders
  • managing drug offenders
  • boot camps
  • electronic tagging
  • problem solving justice
  • desistance
  • compliance
  • architectural and performative regimes.

You engage in discussions that are grounded in philosophical conversation around the rationales and impacts of punishing through these means:

  • rehabilitation?
  • reduced risk?
  • reparations?
  • retribution?

Themes of the new punitiveness and breaking out of prison (thinking), emotional versus intelligent justice, will run through the module.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of Alternatives to Incarceration as an area of criminology.
  • Apply theoretical arguments on Alternatives to Incarceration to empirical examples, in order to critically analyse these examples, their rationale, and the effect on society.
  • Evaluate evidence from criminological studies of specific Alternatives to Incarceration, including the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of these studies.
  • Demonstrate an advanced ability to make use of appropriate criminological scholarship and policy/legislation and primary sources given the inherent debate around what constitutes "effective" justice within the field.
  • Demonstrate an advanced ability to communicate and evaluate concepts drawn from Alternatives to Incarceration to specialist and non-specialist audiences via writing a concept note (non-specialist) and a long essay (specialist)