Psychology of Crime and Criminal Justice

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Michael Shiner OLD2.49


This course is available on the BSc in Social Policy, BSc in Social Policy and Criminology, BSc in Social Policy and Economics, BSc in Social Policy and Sociology and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

This is a recommended course for BSc Social Policy and Criminology.

Course content

The course examines the contribution that psychology has made to our understanding of crime and criminal justice processes. It explores what psychological theory and research have to tell us about the causes of crime and the ways in which we respond to such behaviour.

Particular attention is paid to the development of individual criminality and criminal careers; drug and alcohol related crime; varieties of criminal behaviour including violence, sexual crime and stalking; mental disorder and crime; victims and victimisation; fear of crime and public attitudes towards punishment; offender profiling and criminal investigation; eye witness testimony and legal decision making; rehabilitation and imprisonment.


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of lectures and 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

One essay per term (MT and LT) will be required. Students will be expected to present class papers.

Indicative reading

J.R. Adler, Forensic Psychology: Concepts, Debates and Practice, 2004/2010; PB Ainsworth, Psychology and Crime: Myths and Reality, 2000; D Carson & R Bull, Handbook of Psychology in Legal Contexts, 2003; C.R. Hollin, Psychology and Crime: An Introduction to Criminological Psychology, 2013; J McGuire, Understanding Psychology and Crime, 2004 F. Pakes and J. Winstone, Psychology and Crime: Understanding and Tackling Offending Behaviour, 2007.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

Classification % of students
First 3.6
2:1 55.4
2:2 41
Third 0
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2012/13: 30

Average class size 2012/13: 15

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 84%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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Contact (Q2.7)


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Recommend (Q2.9)