module specification

SC4001 - Introduction to the Criminal Justice System (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
 
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Report on observation of Magistrates' Court procedure, 1000 words
Coursework 40%   Essay, 2,000 words
Unseen Examination 40%   Unseen examination, 1.5 hours
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Morning
Year (Spring and Summer) North Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module introduces students to the scope and functions of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in England and Wales.  It provides a broad overview of the mechanisms and aims of the CJS upon which students can build a more detailed knowledge of criminal justice policies, crime control, punishment and social control by the state, at levels 5 and 6.  The module also specifically provides students with an introductory picture of the extent of officially recorded crime.

Module aims


The module aims to:
1. Provide students with a solid grounding in the field upon which to build a grasp of issues relating to criminal justice
2. Review the historical development, structures and roles of key agencies responsible for the execution of justice in England and Wales
3. Identify key models of the Criminal Justice System such as the due process and crime control models
4. Consider recent, and significant, examples of changes in the CJS (such as the increasing levels of inter-agency cooperation)
5. Develop students’ knowledge of current policies relating to the ‘problem of crime’.
 

Syllabus

The first part of the module introduces the models of the CJS considers how these might be used to understand its role and functions.  The module then set out an outline of the journey of the offender through the system from the commission of a crime to sentencing, drawing on case studies.  The second part of the module identifies the structure and officially defined roles of the key agencies of criminal justice, focussing upon:

• Concepts of justice and sentencing
• Diversion from custody
• Magistrates’ courts
• Crown Courts
• Prisons
• Victims
• Police history and modernisation
• Probation history and modernisation
• ‘Bias’ in the Criminal Justice ‘System’.

The final part of the module charts some recent developments in the workings of the CJS and considers the consequences of key legislation and policy in recent years.  It also conwiders recent and current (officially recorded) crime trends.

Learning and teaching

Students learn through a variety of methods including weekly formal lectures and seminar/workshop sessions.  Video material is provided on a range of sessions to stimulate focussed discussion.  Students also spend time in guided activity including an observation of magistrates’ court functions.  Blackboard is used to supply information about the module including providing students with some key readings.  Seminar time is allocated for students to discuss their progress with each other and the module includes an oral report on the court observation following which students are encouraged to reflect upon the process and to compare and critically evaluate their experiences.

Students are expected to spend approximately 6 hours per week in independent study and writing.

Learning outcomes


On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Describe the history, developments and functions of the key agencies within the CJS
2. Identify the key theoretical models used within academic work to characterise and justify the CJS
3. Describe recent key changes in the CJS that affect the way in which criminal justice agencies carry out their roles
4. Describe and analyse some recent and current crime trends, as recorded officially by government agencies
5. Manage their own learning and synthesise information provided during teaching and through their own study and research activities
6. Recall and synthesise knowledge and reproduce relevant data on specified topics related to the CJS in a confined time and without access to resources.

Assessment strategy

The module is assessed by one report on an observation, one essay and one short unseen examination. The report on a court observation tests learning outcome 5.  Essay questions require students to demonstrate their knowledge of the overarching aims and mechanisms of the CJS as well as their knowledge of crime trends (learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4).  The examination tests students’ knowledge of the range of institutions and agencies which comprise the CJS and the key academic models which apply to these, and so tests students’ grasp of the context within which the CJS is located (learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6).

Bibliography

Davies M, Croall H and Tyrer J (2015) Criminal Justice fifth edition, Harlow: Pearson Longman.

Maguire, M., Morgan, R., Reiner, R. (eds.) (2012) Oxford Handbook of Criminology Fifth Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Muncie, J.  (2009) ‘Youth and Crime’ (third edition), London: Sage

Newburn, T. (2012) Criminology second edition, London: Routledge

Journals:
British Journal of Criminology
Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice Matters
Criminal Law Review
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
Probation Journal