Sociology and Criminology

Punishment and Penology

Module code: L3114
Level 5
15 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

This module will examine both the theory and practice of punishment, and will encourage you to take a critical approach to analysing these. The focus will mainly be on England and Wales, but comparison will be drawn with other countries, such as those in Europe, North America and Australasia, where relevant.

After exploring a range of theoretical approaches in relation to the justifications for and purposes of punishment, you will consider a range of empirical examples. The latter will be largely contemporary, but historical examples will also be used.

Topics will include:

  • justifications for punishment
  • Durkhemian, Marxist and Foucauldian perspectives on punishment
  • Garland's (2001) culture of control and the new penology (Feeley and Simon, 1992)
  • contemporary imprisonment
  • women in prison
  • children and young people in custody
  • immigration detention centres
  • alternatives to imprisonment
  • radical critiques, such as abolitionism and feminist jurisprudence.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of theories of punishment.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of empirical studies of punishment.
  • Apply theoretical arguments and penological concepts to empirical examples.
  • Assimilate and evaluate evidence from criminological studies of punishment.