Criminal Justice Policy

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Coretta Phillips OLD 2.28


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Criminal Justice Policy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All Social Policy Courses are ‘Controlled Access’. Please see the link below for further details on the allocation process:




Amongst non-Social Policy students, if there are places available, priority will be given to those on the Master of Laws and Master of Laws (extended part-time study).

Course content

The course provides a detailed and critical introduction to the study of criminal justice institutions, practices and participants.


It begins with an introduction to the nature of crime and contemporary criminal justice policy. It then examines the main elements of modern criminal justice systems (police, courts, prisons, probation, the media, and private security).


Special emphasis is given to current issues such as restorative justice and increasing rates of incarceration. The course combines up-to-date empirical work with theoretical perspectives and also emphasises the role of historical and comparative perspectives in understanding current trends.


15 hours of lectures and 4 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the MT. 15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures in the ST.


There will be a reading week in Weeks 6 of MT and LT.


Formative coursework

MT - 2000 word formative essay and one-to-one feedback. 

ST - Mock exam (one question).

Indicative reading

Liebling, A., Maruna, S. and McAra, L. (eds.) (2017) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Sixth Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Newburn, T. (2017) Criminology. Third Edition. London: Routledge.

McLaughlin, E. and Newburn, T. (eds.) (2010) The Sage Handbook of Criminological Theory. London: Sage.

Downes, D., Rock, P., and McLaughlin, E. (2016) Understanding Deviance: A Guide to the Sociology of Crime and Rule-Breaking. 7th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Newburn, T. (ed.) (2009) Key Readings in Criminology. Cullompton: Willan Publishing.



Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (25%, 2000 words) in the ST.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2019/20: 33

Average class size 2019/20: 17

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills