Understanding the Criminal Justice System (L3123)

15 credits, Level 4

Spring teaching

This module provides an introduction to the criminal justice system focusing on key debates around social control and the historic development of institutions. This involves assessing the development of key components of the justice system including:

  • prisons
  • the police
  • probation
  • the courts
  • community justice.

You will also critically examine contemporary debates including race and crime, gender, power and punishment, issues of overpolicing and criminalisation, youth justice and crime prevention. The module also aims to situate the British justice system within an international context to allow for a comparative understanding.

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: