Criminal Justice Policy

This information is for the 2021/22 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.


Courses in Social Policy will follow the Teaching Model which has been adopted by the Department of Social Policy during the period of the pandemic. This is outlined HERE: https://www.lse.ac.uk/social-policy/Current-Students/teaching-in-the-department-of-social-policy

This course will be taught through a combination of either a recorded lecture plus a follow-up Q and A session or a ‘live’ on-line lecture; and classes/seminars of 1-1.5 hours (with size and length of classes/seminars depending on social distancing requirements).

Further information will be provided by the Course Convenor in the first lecture of the course.

The course will be delivered in Michaelmas and Lent term.

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.



Essay (40%, 3000 words) in the LT.
Online assessment (60%).

The online assessment will consist of 12 questions of which students must answer 3.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 21

Average class size 2020/21: 7

Controlled access 2020/21: 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