Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Criminal Justice and the Penal System
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 8 x 1 Hour Lectures
Lecture 10 x 2 Hour Lectures
Seminar 3 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Exam  (Seen). Candidates are not permitted to bring any books, notes or any other materials into the examination.  100%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Exam  (Seen). Candidates are not permitted to bring any books, notes or any other materials into the examination.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Understand the law, policies and theories that underlie the criminal justice system.
2. Understand the key concepts of the subject and the methods of evaluating the operation of the system.
3. Utilize and apply relevant data and research materials.
4. Engage in debate and present reasoned and evidence based argument.

Brief description

Criminal Justice is a discrete discipline that encompasses the fields of law and criminology and looks at the legal procedures and institutions that give effect to the system of criminal law. The three key areas of the criminal justice system are police, courts (including sentencing) and corrections.
Criminal justice broadly considers the enforcement of laws, investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct, court procedures and sentencing, and the implementation of punitive measures. This amounts to a large body of policy, law and practice that provides the context within which the criminal law operates.
The course aims to provide students with a broad but comprehensive view of the criminal justice system, considering all three key areas and drawing on a range of materials within law and the social sciences, legislation and case law, empirical research, statistical data, and comparative studies.
Although criminal justice is a discrete discipline there is an interdisciplinary element that will broaden the experience of the student of law, while making the study of some areas of the legal system accessible to students of other disciplines.
More generally the module aims to enhance students’ ability to engage critically and analytically with relevant materials, participate in informed discussion, and prepare reasoned arguments through the development of research skills.


More generally, the module aims to prepare students for a working environment by enhancing their ability to engage in analytical and critical debate and developing research skills both in the library and through the use of new technologies. More particularly, the module will develop an appreciation of the role of law in dealing with social delinquency and an understanding of the means of measuring and testing the effectiveness of legal responses to the problems of crime.


Introduction to Criminal Justice
Police discretion
Policing theories
PACE/police powers
Police Governance
Police Accountability
Prosecutorial discretion
Special Topic 1: Presentation of Police Evidence in Court
Aims of punishment/sentencing
Special Topic 2: Death Penalty in the US
Goffman’s total institutions
Special Topic 3: History of Crime and Punishment
Prison Overcrowding
Prison privatization
Inmates’ Rights


This module is at CQFW Level 5