Crime and Criminal Justice

Course Convenor: Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe

CrimeCrime affects most people at some point in their lives, yet there is ongoing debate in academia, politics and the public about what causes it and how best to deal with it. This course explores both the concept of crime and the criminal justice system, which exists to deal with crime. The criminal justice system is a multifaceted system, which encompasses a variety of aims, some of which are competing – in this sense, the course aims to disentangle what the system tries to do. The course will introduce students to criminology, theories of crime and relevant issues regarding trials and sentencing. The course is primarily focused on criminal justice in the UK and the US, but students will be encouraged to use experience and knowledge from other countries to contribute to the debates.

Intended Audience

This course is aimed at students with a broad interest in criminology and criminal justice issues. This encompasses, but is not limited to, those majoring or minoring in sociology, psychology, law and/or politics-based courses.

Previous Knowledge

No previous knowledge is required, however students should be able to critically analyse and discuss the course topics in an open-minded fashion.

Transferable Knowledge and Skills

This course will help develop students’ critical reading skills through engagement with a variety of readings on crime and criminal justice issues. Students’ intellectual skills will be enhanced by having to extract key elements from complex information, identifying opposing theories and engaging in lateral thinking. Seminars will be focused on student discussion and thus will develop their communications skills and ability to marshal arguments lucidly, coherently and concisely. Academic writing skills will be developed through the assessment framework.