Not available in 2022/23
Psychology of Crime and Criminal Justice

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Michael Shiner OLD.2.34


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

This course cannot be taken with SO210 Crime, Deviance and Control or SO240 Crime, Deviance and Control.

Course content

The course examines the contribution that psychology has made to our understanding of crime and criminal justice. 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; public attitudes towards punishment; public confidence in the criminal justice system; prejudice and discrimination; organisational dynamics and institutional change; offender profiling and criminal investigation; eye witness testimony and legal decision making; rehabilitation and imprisonment.


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:

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.

Formative coursework

One essay per term (MT and LT) 

Indicative reading

J.R. Adler and J.M.Gray, Forensic Psychology: Concepts, Debates and Practice, 2010

PB Ainsworth, Psychology and Crime: Myths and Reality, 2000

J.Brown and E.Campbell, The Cambridge Handbook of Forensic Psychology, 2010

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.


Online assessment (100%) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2021/22: 29

Average class size 2021/22: 7

Capped 2021/22: Yes (30)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication