LW3CJ-Criminal Justice

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Stephen Banks

Email: s.banks@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
The module will consider three institutions responsible for the delivery of criminal justice, the Police, the Courts and the Prisons. The module, which will have a substantial historical content, will examine the philosophical/ideological foundations of these institutions, their historical antecedents and their contemporary attributes.

1. To introduce students to the institutions of criminal justice.
2. To develop an understanding of their relationship to one another and to explain the historical and philosophical roots that underpin those institutions.
3. To develop a critical awareness of contemporary debates and proposals for reform and an appreciation of the arguments that inform them.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • Identify and explain the structure of policing in England and demonstrate an understanding of the historical processes that led to its development.
  • Appraise the significance of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and the Codes of Practice.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the structure of the criminal courts and critique the role played by the lay magistracy.
  • Consider the role of the trial by jury and display an awareness of the debates concerning reform.
  • Understand the development of penal policy and critically consider the role of incarceration in the criminal justice system.

Additional outcomes:
Students will be encouraged to improve their research skills and legal writing.

Outline content:

Beginning with the police, the module will examine earlier systems of policing and trace the development of structures and policies through to the present day. The significance of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act will be assessed and the module will also consider the merits and difficulties suggested by the move towards centralised policing. In respect of the courts, the module will trace an outline of their evolution and in particular the current role played in them by the lay magistracy or Justices of the Peace. It will consider the future of trial by jury, and the debates surrounding suggestions for reform. Finally, the module will consider the philosophy of punishment and the development of penal policy, concluding with a consideration of parole and the alternatives to incarceration.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching will be through the medium of both lectures and seminars. Reading packs will be available but students will be expected to undertake extensive independent research (in particular to complete the writing assignment).

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 80 90
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Other information on summative assessment:

One essay of 5 pages formatted in accordance with the rules as set out in the School Guide (Programme Assessment). The essay to be chosen from a selection of three titles, to be set by the module tutors. This will count for 30% of the marks.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    There will be one, two hour examination counting for 70% of the marks. Three questions to be answered from a selection.

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    See the school Guide (Programme Assessment). Only the failed element(s) must be retaken with the marks for the passed element being carried forward.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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