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BA Criminology

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Prisons: Exploring the Carceral World in the UK

Unit code CRIM31212
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The unit aims to: to provide a systematic and critical knowledge of the key empirical and policy-oriented discussions about prisons in the UK. The course proposes a multidisciplinary approach to deliver weekly research, policy and practice-oriented workshops. Ultimately the aim is to learn how think critically about doing research on prisons and doing research in prisons. As such, the unit proposes an exciting, topical, and still rather unique area of study, which will attract both national and international students.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching in academic year 20/21 will reflect both University policy and local and national lockdown restrictions operating at the time of delivery. We will offer face-to-face teaching where possible and provide a like for like on-line experience for those unable to be on campus. 

Our teaching models will be flexible and allow us to adapt to changing conditions, however, the common intention across units is to provide (1) media, activities and other learning material that should be engaged with before scheduled teaching; (2) a timetabled 2-hour online lecture/workshop slot used for a range of online Q&A and follow-up activities; (3) a timetabled weekly 1-hour seminar/activity slot that will be face-to-face if possible and ‘live’ online if not/preferred; (4) weekly opportunity for 1:1 support. In total, there will be the opportunity for up to 30 hours of contact time.


Knowledge and understanding

  • Provide a critical account of the main perspectives on prisons;
  • Explain how these can be used to understand contemporary issues in penal policy

Intellectual skills

-       Develop a critical understanding of : the origins and development of prisons, implementation and daily practices of imprisonment, and contemporary challenges.

-       Accurately apprehend and evaluate complex material;

-       Engage with multiple academic perspectives, concepts and ideas to address practical/policy problems;

- develop arguments in a logical and coherent way



Practical skills

Learn how to collect, evaluate and compare relevant materials relevant to prison res             

Learn the ethical, political and empirical differences between doing research in/ and                           research on prison 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Work effectively in a team;

              Acquire different writing strategies and styles (i.e. academic and policy report)

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 80%
Oral assessment/presentation 20%

Feedback methods

Formative feedback will given on developing essay plans.

Recommended reading


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Marion Vannier Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Available to all students in SoSS

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