Postgraduate Course: Criminal Justice and Penal Process (LAWS11041)
|School||School of Law
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course aims to provide students with critical insight of the institutions of criminal justice and to introduce some of the relevant policy frameworks, dilemmas and debates. The jurisdictions of Scotland and England & Wales will serve as the primary model for discussions, but an international, comparative approach is considered throughout. The course also has the aim of providing opportunities for students to practice the research skills necessary to explore and critically assess academic and policy research which informs current criminal justice approaches. Students will have the opportunity to observe criminal courts in action and to carry out their own observations on criminal justice processes. By the end of this course students should be able to describe the conceptual functioning of criminal justice and penal institutions; critically analyse these institutions and explain the rationale of key developments in policy and practice
At the conclusion of this course students should be able to describe the conceptual functioning of criminal justice and penal institutions; critically analyse these institutions; and explain the rationale of key developments in policy and practice. The jurisdictions of Scotland and England & Wales will serve as the primary model for discussions, but an international, comparative approach is considered throughout.
Early seminars on this course introduce students to key frameworks and processes of criminal justice such as discretionary decision-making, institutional independence, prosecution, sentencing and the criminal court. Later seminars address questions relating to victims, community and custodial sentences, restorative justice and the jury before concluding with questions about penal reform, transformation and global challenges.
The course is taught by way of a weekly seminar. Students should come prepared for each seminar by reading the essential reading beforehand. Students are expected to contribute to seminars by way of discussion and debate among the whole group or in smaller groups.
Students will also have the opportunity to observe criminal courts in action and to carry out their own observations on criminal justice processes. These observations will form part of discussions at subsequent seminars.
The course also has the aim of providing opportunities for students to practice the research skills necessary to explore and critically assess academic and policy research which informs current criminal justice approaches. Students will be assigned to small groups and each week one group will make a brief presentation on the topic under discussion.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||This course will be assessed by the following component(s):
Two essays of 5,000 words, both worth 50% .
Students will be asked to discuss and critique current policy developments or controversies, drawing on readings and discussions conducted throughout the course.
||Each course will provide the opportunity for at least one piece of formative assessment with associated feedback. This will be provided within an appropriate timescale to enable students to learn from this prior to the summative assessment.
Each week a small group of students will make a short presentation on the seminar topic. The purpose of this exercise is to encourage the development of research and communication skills. Individual formative feedback on these skills is provided to each student after their own presentation.
Feedback on the formative assessment may be provided in various formats, for example, to include written, oral, video, face-to-face, whole class, or individual. The course organiser will decide which format is most appropriate in relation to the nature of the assessment.
Feedback on both formative and summative in-course assessed work will be provided in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course.
Feedback on the summative assessment will be provided in written form via Learn, the University of Edinburgh's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Develop knowledge and critical understanding of key theoretical; empirical and policy perspectives on criminal justice.
- Demonstrate critical understanding of the conceptual and practical functioning of key institutions and their practices; the ability to apply theoretical knowledge to relevant areas of policy and practice and to critically engage with current debates and dilemmas.
- Undertake observations of criminal court processes and communicate their findings to the class
- Develop communication skills by working in small groups to research a current criminal justice policy; to present to the class an analysis of the policy; answer questions and continue discussions of the topic; make useful and constructive contributions to other presentations and class discussions
- Independently research and write an academically referenced piece of work that critically engages with criminal justice theory, policy and practice.
|Zedner, L. (2004) Criminal Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press. |
Smith, P. and K. Natalier. (2005) Understanding Criminal Justice: sociological perspectives. London: Sage.
Cavadino, M. and Dignan, J. (2020). The Penal System (6th edition)
Nelken, D. (2010). Comparative criminal justice: making sense of difference. London: Sage.
Hudson, B. (1993). Penal Policy and Social Justice. London: Macmillan Press.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||This course provides students with the opportunity to:
* apply theoretical and empirical research to current debates and policy
* Identify and critically evaluate the drivers and motivations of policy reform, implementation and practice
* Develop communication skills, including written and oral presentation skills in small and larger groups
* Independently research and critically evaluate different forms of academic, policy and practice evidence.
|Course organiser||Dr Fiona Jamieson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5567
|Course secretary||Miss Chloe Culross
Tel: (0131 6)50 9588