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The Criminal Justice System - SPY00030C

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Rachel Vipond
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

How criminal justice is delivered matters. In England and Wales around 1.07 million people come into contact with the CJ system each year, at a cost of around £9.15 billion. This module will explore the agencies involved in delivering justice, what justice means in ‘criminal’ justice; and consider the strengths and weaknesses of criminal justice policy and practice in England and Wales. This module will introduce you to the key agencies involved in the criminal justice system in terms of their functions and main powers. Through lectures, small group seminars and workshops you will examine critical issues currently facing the criminal justice system, and how these are experienced by offenders. The assessment will require you to apply your learning to a selected case study of an offender, whose journey you will follow throughout the module.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of the module students will:

  1. understand the functions and powers of the agencies that comprise the criminal justice system in England and Wales

  2. be able to describe and analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the criminal justice system as it operates in England and Wales

  3. understand and assess the way the criminal justice system deals with offenders

  4. be able to apply knowledge about the criminal justice system to a specific example


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 2500 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay 2500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback will be given in accordance with the University Policy on feedback in the Guide to Assessment as well as in line with the School policy.

Indicative reading

Hucklesby, A and Wahidin, A (2013) Criminal Justice

O’Malley, L. and Grace, S. (2018) The Short Guide to Criminal Justice, Bristol, Policy Press

Roberts, J. (2015) Criminal Justice: A very short introduction, Oxford University Press

Harding, J. et al (eds) (2017) An introduction to criminal justice, Sage

Joyce, P. (2017) Criminal Justice: An introduction, Routledge

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.