LL284      Half Unit
Sentencing and Treatment of Offenders

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Jill Peay NAB6.11


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.

Course content


In recent years sentencing issues have been matters of considerable debate and conflict amongst the public and politicians alike. The syllabus is liable, therefore, to alter year by year, with a focus on recent issues and cases. The course examines both the climate in which sentencing occurs and the justifications for punishment, and looks at how courts practically carry out their sentencing function in the context of persistent statutory reform. The various custodial and non-custodial measures available are examined and their effectiveness assessed. Finally, responses to specific groups of offenders, such as mentally disordered offenders and offenders who kill, are explored together with an examination of the reality of treatment within confinement.


The context of sentencing and the justifications for punishment

Sentencing - theory, practice and possibilities for reform

Custody - containment, treatment, mandatory life sentences

Community based penalties - their scope and future

Sentencing Rioters

Mentally disordered offenders and offenders who kill - the penal response to problematic groups.


20 hours of seminars in the MT.

Week six is a 'reading and project' work week, in part in preparation for student presentations in week 7-10. Week 11 is a review and revision week.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 presentation in the MT.

Indicative reading

A list will be supplied at the beginning of the term together with key questions to be addressed in class. The recommended text for the course is A. Ashworth (2015) Sentencing and Criminal Justice. (6th edition) Cambridge University Press.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2015/16: 15

Average class size 2015/16: 16

Capped 2015/16: Yes (25)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills