Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
International and Uk Punishment - Theory and Practice
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 21 hours; 7x3 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written assignment  of 2,500 words  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment Written assignment  of 2,500 words - if element failed  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Exam  - if element failed  50%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the ethical, philosophical and sociological theories of punishments and their different approaches to crime and punishment in the UK and internationally;
2. Dissect and critically assess the various features of the ‘penal crises’ and the socio-political context of this ‘crisis’ and understand the boundaries of the crisis;
3. Provide a critical discursive argument which addresses the question of whether various interventions ‘work’;
4. Illustrate a sound awareness of current and/or proposed changes to the CJS in England and Wales, and to those internationally, and their implications for the punishment and for the management, treatment, rehabilitation and restorative possibilities for offenders and communities.


Week 1:
Theories: Punishment; Penal process and responses to offending behaviour; Retribution; Deterrence; Rehabilitation; Incapacitation; Reparation; retributive justice and peacekeeping.
Week 2:
Community and Community expectations Questions of community expectations. Assessment and comparison of concepts
Week 3:
The meaning and place of effectiveness and an exploration of decriminalisation at least in terms of punitive systems.
Week 4:
Local and international systems. Sentencing – national and international. The application of sentences (incarceration and alternatives to incarceration) – national and international.
Week 5:
The principal of a universal jurisdiction – within states and internationally
Problematic discussions - state crime
Week 7:
Sentencing and International Human Rights Legislation

Brief description

This module provides a theoretical and practical perspective on the punishment, treatment and rehabilitative aspects of the criminal justice system both in England and Wales and internationally. The module begins with an examination of the role of morals and ethics in the context of punishment, treatment, rehabilitation and in restorative processes. It explores the philosophies of utilitarianism and deontology, and how they underpin the contrasting notions of deterrence and retribution. It will open up many dilemmas and questions such as: When is an offence punishable? For whom? Why? What type of punishment or official response? What is the relationship between morality and the law, and how far should the state intrude into personal morality? In addition, the module considers the ways in which special, or vulnerable, groups (such as youths, women, drug-using offenders and dangerous offenders) are dealt with by the state. The role of the prison service and probation will be considered as will the way in which punishment can be dealt with differently nationally and internationally.


This module is at CQFW Level 7