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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2019-2020

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

No such Code for prog: LMVO

Department: Sociology

SOCI1421: The Criminal Justice Landscape

Type Tied Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to L370 Criminology
Tied to L371 Criminology with Year Abroad
Tied to L373 Criminology with Placement Year
Tied to LMVO
Tied to LMVA Combined Honours in Social Sciences (with Year Abroad)


  • None.


  • SOCI1391 Introduction to Criminological Theory

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module is designed to:
  • Stimulate students' interest in, and enthusiasm for, the field of Criminal Justice studies by introducing them to current debates within the field.
  • Encourage students to develop a critical understanding of current issues in criminal justice.
  • Introduce students to key agencies in the criminal justice system including the Crown Prosecution Service (C.P.S.), Courts (Durham Crown Court), Prisons (HMP Durham) and Police.
  • Introduce students to multiple volunteering opportunities within the criminal justice system (in conjunction with (C.E.E.D.) the Centre for Education, Employment and Development and actively encourage students to engage in volunteering.


  • This module will focus on:
  • The history and context of the Criminal Justice System.
  • An introduction to the concepts of due process and crime control.
  • The role of the various criminal justice agencies in theory.
  • The applied nature of the criminal justice system in real world settings e.g. the Crown Prosecution Service, Police, Probation, Secure hospitals.
  • Practical realities of working/volunteering in the criminal justice system
  • Indicative field visits:
  • Walking tour of criminal justice sites in Durham City
  • Crown Court visit
  • Police Station visit

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students are expected to be able to demonstrate:
  • An understanding at an introductory level of key terms relating to the criminal justice system.
  • An appreciation of the ways in which the criminal justice system operates.
  • A critical appreciation at an introductory level of the competing demands placed on the criminal justice system.
  • A critical insight into key issues of criminal justice.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module student will have:
  • an understanding at an introductory level of some of the key terms and concepts associated with the criminal justice system.
  • an introductory knowledge of the criminal justice system from a theoretical perspective.
  • an understanding at an introductory level of how the criminal justice system interacts with the rest of society.
  • an enhanced working knowledge of how the criminal justice system works in applied real world settings e.g. court, prison and policing.
  • an understanding at an introductory level of alternative methods of punishment e.g. restorative justice.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of the module students are expected to be able to demonstrate:
  • Basic IT skills relating to the production of summative essays.
  • Basic ability to plan workload and time.
  • Competency in engaging in library searches.
  • Ability to evaluate and interpret information and evidence to a good basic standard.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures: For the first term (Michaelmas) and part of the second there will be a series of weekly lectures which will provide an introduction to key issues in the criminal justice system, as well as looking at opportunities for volunterring in the criminal justice system.
  • Seminars: fortnightly seminars provide an opportunity for students to explore in greater depth and collectively the themes and issues arising from lectures, field visits and associated reading together in their small groups, through discussions, set tasks, debates and presentations.
  • In the second term (Epiphany) there will be two field visits (2 x 2.5 hours approx) that will include a site visit (for example, to Durham Crown Court, Durham Police Station and the ‘Crime Walk’: a ‘walking tour’ of sites of criminal justice in Durham city.
  • A compulsory formative assignment to be submitted at the end of Michaelmas term provides an opportunity for students to develop the skills and abilities required for future summative assessment by completing an essay plan.
  • The summative assignment will take the form of a written essay, which enables students to demonstrate their achievement and understanding of a specific topic in depth and to construct a systematic discussion within word-limited constraints.
  • A summative examination tests the range, depth and sophistication of a student’s knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, together with the ability to argue coherently and to communicate effectively when writing within time constraints.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 16 Weekly in terms 1 and 2 1 hour 16
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Field Visits 2 In 2nd term only (as directed by the host criminal justice agencies) 2.5 hours approx. (e.g. Crime Walk/Police Station/Crown Court visits) 5
Preparation, Reading and self-directed learning 169
Total: 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1,200 words 100% Yes
Component: Exam Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Paper - 2 questions answered from a range of options. 2 hours 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

One compulsory 500 word essay plan.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

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