Crime, Policy and Social Justice

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
16 May 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA M900 Criminology,
BA M901 Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA M903 Criminology (Including Foundation Year),
BA M904 Criminology (Including Placement Year)

Module description

Criminal justice systems have particular functions in that they process crime and manage offenders, victims and law enforcement agents. But what wider roles do or should they play in securing social justice more generally? What could a public criminology look like? Many argue the west has moved to a post-welfare society characterised by a reduced role for the state, the replacement of ideals by management goals and a more actuarial, partnership-based approach to many areas of public policy. How far is this the case and what might be the implications for concepts of crime, deviance, community and justice?
This module explores the changing relationships between criminal justice and other areas of public policy such as education, (mental) health, urban regeneration and measures to combat social exclusion. It also considers the wider international dimension through case studies of, for example, trafficking, child rights and gender justice. Jackie Turton and Pam Cox (who both have experience as external consultants) will teach the module and it will involve sessions with practitioners.

To explore concepts of criminal justice in relation to broader theories of social justice
To consider criminal justice policies in relation to broader public policies
To examine how criminal justice policies are framed and implemented

Module aims

• To analyse the connections between the many factors contributing to the onset of, prevention of, and desistance from, crime.
• To consider criminal justice policies in relation to broader social policies.
• To examine how key criminal justice policies are framed and implemented in local and national contexts.
• To explore the relationships between criminal justice, social policy and social justice.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module, students will be able to apply key theoretical positions to a range of empirically-grounded studies of crime, community, social policy and social justice. They will have a strong understanding of the connections between formal social controls (as exercised through the criminal justice system) and informal social controls (as exercised through families, communities and social policies).

Module information

This course is available as a full year course or as an AUTUMN term half option.

Learning and teaching methods

2 hour weekly Seminar


  • McNeill, Fergus; Farrall, Stephen; Lightowler, Claire; Maruna, Shadd. (2012) The Road from Crime, Glasgow: Iriss.
  • Johnson, Boris. (10 August, 2019) 'Left wingers will howl. But its time to make criminals afraid - not the public: PM Boris Johnson on his pledge to come down hard on crime and reverse the balance of fear', in Daily Mail Online.
  • (2017) The Oxford handbook of criminology, ©2017: Oxford University Press.
  • Smith, Thomas; Cape, Ed. (2019) 'The rise and decline of criminal legal aid in England and Wales', in Access to justice and legal aid: comparative perspectives on unmet legal need, Oxford: Hart Publishing., pp.63-86
  • Legal Action Group | Selling off our silver,
  • (2016) Probation: 12 essential questions, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Davies, Malcolm; Croall, Hazel; Tyrer, Jane. (©2015) Davies, Croall and Tyrer on criminal justice, Harlow: Pearson.
  • Cheliotis, Leonidas K. (2006-07) 'How iron is the iron cage of new penology?', in Punishment & Society. vol. 8 (3) , pp.313-340
  • "Cracking down" on crime | Russell Webster,
  • Craig, Gary; Burchardt, Tania; Gordon, David. (c2008) Social justice and public policy: seeking fairness in diverse societies, Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Cook, Dee. (2006) Criminal and social justice, London: SAGE.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Reading Assignment 1  25/10/2019  10% 
Coursework   Essay 2,500 words   22/11/2019  60% 
Coursework   Reading Assignment 2   29/11/2019  10% 
Coursework   Reading Assignment 3  13/12/2019  10% 
Practical   Class participation     10% 
Exam  120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Alexandra Cox, email:
Jane Harper, Undergraduate Administrator email:, telephone: 01206 873052



External examiner

Dr Jennifer Fleetwood
Goldsmiths, University of London
Senior Lecturer in Criminology
Available via Moodle
Of 43 hours, 41 (95.3%) hours available to students:
2 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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