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Prisons, Punishment, and Penal Policy: A Comparative Perspective (SO9D3)

We read and hear about crime and disorder on a daily basis. Crime is a pressing social and political issue, generating intense debate. It is also an emotive issue. Everyone seems to have a view about crime and punishment and what to do about it.

Throughout this module, you will be encouraged to think critically about the complex and multi-dimensional nature of prisons and punishment.

You will have the chance to explore ideas and theoretical arguments and think about the problematic issues surrounding penology in a sociologically informed way.

This module offers an opportunity to critically explore:

  • penology
  • overview of cutting-edge topics
  • theoretical perspectives in the sociology of punishment
  • examples from courts, policing, prisons, criminal justice social work, and community justice
  • The seminal works of scholars such as Emile Durkheim, Stan Cohen, David Garland, Gresham Sykes, Michel Foucault, John Pratt, Loraine Gelsthorpe, Joe Sim, Pat Carlen, and Phil Scraton are used to theorise and contextualise trends over time.
  • Identify contemporary developments in punishment, criminal justice, and society.
  • Explore a range of new and recent readings from leading criminology journals and books.
  • Multi-media and visual resources are used to illustrate key concepts, practices, and processes. This video series provides an introduction to some of the key areas that will be covered.


Module Director:

Professor Azrini Wahidin


This module is worth 20 CATS.