module specification

SC4059 - Issues in the Criminal Justice System (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Issues in the Criminal Justice System
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Essay, 2000 words
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Friday Afternoon
Summer studies North Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module builds on your knowledge of the criminal justice framework to develop a more detailed knowledge of the criminal justice system (CJS) of England and Wales, criminal justice policy, legislation and social justice outcomes by exploring the following contemporary issues:

● ‘Bias’ in the CJS.
● The use of surveillance in the CJS.
● The introduction of private sector providers within the CJS.
● The CJS’s treatment of victims of crime.
● Media representations of crime, victims of crime and agencies of the CJS.
● Developments in crime prevention.
● Recent and current (officially recorded) crime trends.
● Differences in international systems of criminal justice.

The module aims to:

1. Provide you with a solid grounding and overview of these contemporary issues to help you build a more detailed knowledge for levels 5 and 6.
2. Raise your awareness and understanding of the impact of these issues on the criminal justice sector, the delivery of social justice, the service provided to the public by the CJS and public perceptions of the system.
3. Develop your knowledge of historical developments, current policies and significant changes to the CJS.
4. Provide a comparative perspective of other systems of criminal justice.

Prior learning requirements

Available for Study Abroad? NO


The first part of the module charts recent developments and innovations in the workings of the CJS and considers their societal impact, their impact on the agencies of criminal justice and the delivery of social justice (LO1, LO2):

● Race, Gender and Criminal Justice
● Victims and the CJS
● The Surveillance State
● The Private Sector and the CJS

The second part of the module explores topical themes and contemporary issues associated with criminal justice and perceptions of crime and criminal justice (LO3, LO4):

● Crime and Media:  Reporting Crime News
● Crime Prevention
● Crime Patterns and the Collection of Crime Statistics
● International Systems of Criminal Justice

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

You will learn through a variety of methods including weekly lecture sessions. Mixed media material is provided in sessions to stimulate focussed discussion and debate around the lecture topics with other students, as well as to foster discussion about your study progress. Guidance is provided to encourage further independent research and a wider exploration of the literature. Blackboard is used to supply information about the module including providing you with some key weekly readings as preparation.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

1. Identify and understand important issues related to the CJS and social justice and their resulting societal impact.
2. Understand how current government policies, legislative measures and significant progressive changes impact the workings of the CJS.
3. Offer an appraisal of the topics covered and successfully make an evaluation of the significance of the issues identified.
4. Make a comparative appraisal of criminal justice systems.

Assessment strategy

The module is assessed by one 2000 word essay which tests your knowledge about specific issues from a choice of eight criminal justice topics explored in the module (LO 1, 2, 3, 4).