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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LAW5228M Contemporary Theories of Crime and Justice

30 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Sean Butcher

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Module replaces

LAW5026 Contemporary Criminological Theory and Approaches

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module is designed to provide students with a critical understanding of some of the most important theories, concepts and approaches that have been advanced to explain trends and developments in crime, crime control and criminal justice in the contemporary era. The module situates these within the wider context of economic, social and political change, and encourages students to engage with, deconstruct and examine the complex relationship(s) between criminological theories, relevant research findings, and the policy decisions and practices that each informs. In doing so, it sets out to stimulate a series of debates about policy development, the impacts of policy decision-making and resultant practices, as well those that account for wider changes in crime control and criminal justice. The module reflects and emphasises the multi-disciplinary nature of criminology, by drawing upon a broader range of conceptual ideas, research findings and insights that assist in the pursuit of understanding crime and the ways in which responses to it are rationalised.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. explore contemporary theories, concepts and approaches to understanding crime, crime control, and the criminal justice system;
2. identify and understand contemporary academic and policy debates relating to crime and its management;
3. analyse the complex relationships between theoretical concepts and ideas, criminological knowledge and research, and criminal justice practice;
4. locate contemporary crime control and the criminal justice system in the wider context of social and political change, and contemporary debates about social order.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Understand, critically evaluate and deploy crime theories, concepts and ideas, exploring contemporary debates that they inform;
2. Understand, critically evaluate and deploy theories of criminal justice, exploring contemporary debates that they inform;
3. Critically analyse the relationships between crime and criminal justice theories, policies and practices;
4. Demonstrate in both spoken and written form a critical understanding of crime and criminal justice theories and their influences, drawing considered conclusions that are rooted in contemporary scholarship and research evidence from primary and secondary interdisciplinary sources.


• Introduction and Module Overview
• Contemporary Theories of Crime in Context
• Biosocial Theories*
• Theories of Social Disorganisation*
• Cultural Criminology*
• Contemporary Theories of Crime Control and Justice in Context
• Preventive Justice*
• Therapeutic Justice*
• Procedural Justice*
• Module Review and Assessment Advice
*Specific content covered in the syllabus is subject to change, contingent upon knowledge/research interests of teaching staff

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Private study hours300.00
Total Contact hours0.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

The School is committed to providing an excellent student education and experience. This will involve a variety of teaching methods and follow a blended learning model, including meaningful on-campus in-person teaching for all students. Further information regarding teaching delivery will follow.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students are invited to submit a formative 750-word plan in preparation for the summative essay assessment. The deadline for this formative assessment will be approx. mid way through semester two. Feedback provided will cover structure, format and bibliography. Students can follow up and request further feedback in staff academic support hours.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4,000 word essay67.00
Group ProjectGroup presentation33.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 02/09/2021 17:02:41


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