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2013/14 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SLSP3910 Discipline and Punish

20 creditsClass Size: 75

Module manager: Suzanne Hallam

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2013/14

Pre-requisite qualifications

Normally 40 credits at level 2 from programmes of study within the Faculty of ESSL or related disciplines.

This module is mutually exclusive with


This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

- Why Punish?- Do prisons work?- Do men and women experience prison differently? - What are the arguments for and against the death penalty? All of these questions and more are covered in this module. You will be introduced to the origins and development of the prison as a means of punishment in British society. You will study the nature, scope and purpose of the penal institution, assess the effectiveness of the prison as a form of punishment and consider alternatives to what has become a culturally acceptable way of dealing with those who transgress society's norms.In focusing specifically upon the prison, the module should raise important questions concerning the way in which crime is regulated. Contemporary developments in penal theory, policy and practice will be explored. There will be a focus on 'doing time': the actuality of prison life taking account of strategies for survival, the nature of regime activities and the diversity of the prison population. Issues of stratification and power within prisons will be addressed. Comparisons will penal regimes in other countries will be made and alternatives to prisons discussed.Contact: Terry Wassall


On completion of the module the student should be able to:
- assess contrasting theories of penalty and punishment
- show an awareness of different histories of imprisonment
- show knowledge of the diverse nature of the prison experience according to types of prison
- critically assess the impact of prison on different groups of people
- show knowledge of issues of gender, age, ethnicity and place of birth in relation to imprisonment
- make comparisons with regimes in other countries eg America and Sweden
- show an understanding or alternatives to imprisonment e.g. community service.

Skills outcomes
Oral and written presentation skills, research skill, IT skills.


The module will provide students with the opportunity to assess contrasting theories of penalty and punishment from the eighteenth century to the present day. A number of themes relating to the concept of imprisonment and its justification as a form of punishment will be explored. The diverse nature and characteristics of the prison population will be related to specific prison experiences.

Gender, age, ethnicity and nationality and their interaction with experiences of imprisonment will be analysed. The course will offer students the opportunity to compare penal systems in different countries and explore alternatives to imprisonment. Current issues relating to punishment will be considered and practical examples provided eg curfews, the use of tagging, privatisation of prisons, changes in probation.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- 39 hours preparing for lectures
- 60 hours preparing for tutorials
- 60 hours preparing for essays and exams
- 19 hours on independent research for presentations.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminar attendance/participation, presentations in seminars.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

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: 08/01/2014


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