Module code: SOC1035

Module Overview

The Criminal Justice System comprises those institutions and agencies that are collectively responsible for managing a state’s response to crime and disorder. This module provides an introduction to the key agencies within contemporary criminal justice systems in England and Wales. We will focus on the role and function of the police service, prosecutors, courts, prisons and the probation service.

Module provider


Module Leader

MENICHELLI Francesca (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

JACs code: L437

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Overview of the Criminal Justice System
The Police
The Crown Prosecution Service and the Prosecution Process
The Courts Service and the Judiciary
Prisons and Punishment
The Probation Service, Offender Management and NOMS
Youth Justice
Minority Ethnic Communities and the Criminal Justice System
Victims and Restorative Justice
Miscarriages of Justice

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation GROUP PRESENTATION 20
Examination 2 HOUR EXAM 80

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their in-depth knowledge of theoretical and policy issues relating to the criminal justice system.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

One two-hour exam, designed to test students’ knowledge of models of criminal justice; relevant agencies such as the police, CPS, Courts Service, Prison Service, Probation, youth justice – 80% of the module mark
One group-based presentation – 20% of the module mark

Formative assessment and feedback

The final session is given over to exam advice, hints and tips.

Module aims

  • The state's response to crime in England and Wales
  • The ways that criminal justice has developed over time
  • Themes and debates that characterise contemporary criminal justice

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Demonstrate understanding of the individual and collective contributions of the key Criminal Justice System agencies in England and Wales KCP
2 Show awareness of the ways that the Criminal Justice system has developed and why KCP
3 Demonstrate understanding of how the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales compares with other systems KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 127

Lecture Hours: 12

Seminar Hours: 11

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to reflect the programme’s key learning and teaching aims by:

Developing students’ in-depth understanding of the role and functions of the criminal justice system;
Engendering knowledge of  key theoretical conceptualisations of the criminal justice process;
Developing understandings of the relationship between CJS policy and practice and how this impacts upon minority groups;
Developing key study skills that relate to employability.

The learning and teaching methods include:

Lectures (1 hour per week)
Seminars (1 hour per week)
Class exercises
Class discussions
Independent study
Group work

Each session focuses on one aspect of the criminal justice system. Sessions are split between lectures which aim to provide a broad introduction to a topic and seminars which aim to allow more in-depth discussion of key issues although interaction between lecturer and students is encouraged throughout. There will also be use of forms of media such as TV, film and radio. Group work is an essential part of the module.

Each session has one piece of primary reading which all students are expected to read. This reading provides the basis for class discussions. Additional reading is strongly encouraged too.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.