SENTENCING AND PENAL POLICY - 2024/5

Module code: LAW2089

Module Overview

This module builds upon students’ knowledge gained in year 1 of Criminal Law modules 1 and 2 (LAW1029 and 1030) to explore how the UK sentencing framework follows the principles of sentencing.

This module is interdisciplinary in nature, tracing the private and public conceptualisations of sentencing and penal policy (the latter covering prisons and community corrections) through changing legal, political, economic, and social cultures.

The magistrates’ court visit will aid and consolidate students’ understanding of the theory and enable the development of practical and employability skills, such as networking with persons in the legal industry and securing a training contract.

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

KHAN Tehmina (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 50

Lecture Hours: 22

Seminar Hours: 12

Guided Learning: 54

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

NONE

Module content

Indicative content includes:


  • Introduction to English sentencing

  • Sentencing aims, principles, and policies

  • Proportionality in sentencing

  • Aggravating and mitigating factors in punishment decisions

  • Sentencing dangerous offenders

  • Sociodemographic factors in criminal justice decisions

  • Procedural issues in sentencing

  • The penal crisis

  • Prison culture

  • Early release

  • Community sanctions



 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination Online 4 HOUR ONLINE EXAM 100

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to allow students to demonstrate that they have successfully met the learning outcomes of the module.

The summative assessment for this module consists of:

 • A problem question (50%): Students will demonstrate their skills as critical thinkers and communicators, while additionally showing their mastery of the course material. Students will engage with the sentencing guidelines to produce a sentencing package that will reflect the seriousness of the offence(s). Students will then justify their decision by relating this to the principles of sentencing.


  • Essay (50%): Students will demonstrate their understanding of the theory of sentencing and the development of the current sentencing framework, through producing an in-depth piece of writing, evidenced by their reading of the relevant topics relating to social, policy and legal issues.



 

This is 4 hour online open book exam.

Why are we doing this?

The assessment strategy is designed to balance issues relating to theory (via a written essay) and procedure and practice (via a practice problem solving exercise) to provide students with a holistic approach to testing their knowledge and skills in relation to sentencing and penal policy. It is further designed to allow students to develop and test their knowledge and their skills in a manner that not only enhances their understanding of the topic, but also allows them to situate it within the wider context of the subject area (punishment within society), thereby contributing to the coherency of their learning journey.

The open book element provides students with a realistic setting, where they can access material to help them best illustrate the relationship between policy and sentencing using authentic scenarios.

The assessment method for each module has been selected to test a variety of key skills, competences and outcomes as required by QAA. As such, the assessment method cannot be changed. Reasonable adjustment may be made on application subject to ALS approval AND only where such adjustment still allows for the required skills, key competences and outcomes to be assessed at an equivalent level.

All aspects of the assessment strategy further allow students to receive feedback from expert staff.

Formative assessments

Students have the opportunity to submit two formative assessments during the module. One relating to the problem solving assessment, and the other a theoretical based essay. This is in addition to the workshop based exercises, where students have the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities and to receive both peer and tutor feedback, with the aim of allowing students to assess their progress week by week.

Feedback

Written feedback on formative assessments and feedforward on summative assignments will be provided via SurreyLearn. This will indicate what students did well, less well, and what they need to do to improve in the future and will relate both to issues specific to the module and to transferable skills. In addition, for the formative feedback, general feedback on collective errors will be provided throughout a revision lecture. The formative assessments will not count toward the final grade but may improve the students’ summative assessment.

Module aims

  • Help students develop skills in critical analysis, communication, and debate.
  • Provide an overview of the nature and forms of sentencing.
  • Assess the impacts that sentencing and penal policies can have on defendants, victims, families, and communities.
  • Critically analyse how the system deals with dangerous offenders, such as sexual predators, terrorists, and serial recidivists.
  • Explore cases and controversies in historical and contemporary societies regarding sentencing and penal policies.
  • Draw theoretical insights from the academic domains of criminology, political science, psychology, and legal studies.
  • Address contemporary developments in laws and policies focused upon sentencing and imprisonment and consider their effectiveness.
  • Consider how to use limited prison beds effectively.
  • Recognise the components of evidence-based rehabilitative programs.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify and explain key theoretical explanations for designing an appropriate sentence (e.g., retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation). KCPT
002 Identify and analyse the nature and forms that criminal punishments may entail, such as incarceration, probation, fines, electronic tagging, or orders. KCPT
003 Identify procedural rules for sentencing decisions, and contextualise the multiple impacts that criminal penalties can have on defendants, victims, families, and communities. KCPT
004 Delineate the processes and rules regarding early release from prison and conceptualise how prison culture is related to prisoner health, welfare, and discipline, and how this might vary by gender. KCPT
005 Identify core dimensions underlying decisions regarding criminal penalties, including the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, nationality, and social class. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to ensure that students achieve the modules learning outcomes and develop competencies in the following corresponding aspects of employability, digital capabilities, global and cultural intelligence, sustainability, resourcefulness and resilience. This design include lectures, self-study, workshops practical problem solving sessions, two formative feedback opportunities and a Magistrates’ court visit, in order to develop subject specific knowledge and the ability to communicate it to others.

Learning and teaching methods include:

Lectures; most of the content will be delivered in this way. These will include active learning through guided activities, small group discussions and link to some additional questions posted for preparation from independent study prior to the students attendance.

Guided Activity feedback; identifying misconceptions revealed from the guided activity results to help students learn from these and implement changes for the exam. Students are expected to reflect on group and individual feedback, which is an essential component of resilience needed for life beyond the university.

Formative feedback (mid and end of module); The feedback will encourage students to ask questions and talk through how to approach the exam.

Content workshops; include in class discussions and debates, problem solving tasks and use of the online sentencing/fines calculator. Students are encouraged and expected to use their prepared information to discuss with others. This includes writing on the whiteboard and presenting to the rest of the class. Students will be developing their communication and team working skills which are key to success beyond university in all career types. Development of communication skills is directly linked to employability and is a key indicator of student success.

Revision workshops; these will help students to structure their work accordingly and become more familiar with how tutors mark, whilst receiving formative feedback. Students are expected to share how they may approach questions, building resourcefulness and resilience as students identify where they can improve, while being supported to devise a plan for improvement.

Recorded content; All lectures are recorded, providing students the opportunity to reflect on the contents after the workshop and consolidate their learning.

Magistrates’ court visit; To consolidate the students’ knowledge and realise theirproblem solving activities from the lectures and workshops, a Magistrate’s court visit has been embedded into the module. This allows the students to arrive at court independently and confidently address legal officers, and explore and link exactly how the learning material translates into practice. Students also have the opportunity to network to enhance their employability beyond your degree programme.

Practical simulation; All activities are based upon real/practical experiences which are drawn upon from the tutor’s practical experience as a Solicitor and Magistrate. These insights as to practical processes underlying the activities. This also ensures that there is some integration between the digital technologies used to understand the sentencing guidelines and the practical aspects of the sentencing framework. The practical developed for this module enables students to develop their digital capabilities through the online sentencing guidelines, developing criticality of their own work and developing resourcefulness as they are able to suggest other more relevant or alternative strategies for sentencing.

Independent study: Between lectures, student are expected to refine their knowledge through reading of textbooks and journal articles relevant to module topics, extending their knowledge beyond the course content. Completion of pre-reading and/or formative assessment tasks will help the identification of areas relevant to social, policy, and legal issues of topics to revise or ask for help with (on discussion boards or in person) to improve summative assessment performance. Example texts/ sources will be provided on surreylearn as a scaffold and the rationale for using these will be given to support development of resourcefulness to obtain independently selected further reading.

 

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

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: LAW2089

Other information

The School of Law is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: This module allows students to both understand, and actively participate in, a range of principles and processes used within the sentencing guidelines. Coupled with the development of critical thinking, reasoning, decision-making, assumption challenging, collaboration, leadership, and other transferable skills, the module allows students to acquire and practice attributes that will be attractive to employers in this field. The focus of the assessment strategy will help to prepare students for the realities of the world of work because it allows them to be familiar with how sentencing packages are created and delivered.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: The assessment strategy, and indeed the in-class preparation that precedes it, is designed to challenge and stretch student capabilities. It is also one where students understand the roles and perspectives of Judges, Magistrates and other decision-makers, both individually and collectively as a cohort, and latterly by experiencing these roles within smaller groups for their first assessment. Therefore, students will need to exhibit resourcefulness, be able to share ideas and experiences both individually and collectively, appreciate potential barriers and challenges faced by others, and provide support and show empathy towards each other in working towards achieving successful outcomes and responding to problem-based task requirements.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate of 40% overall and a pass on the pass/fail unit of assessment is required to pass the module
Law LLB (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law (Law and Technology Pathway) LLB (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law (Philosophy, Politics and Law Pathway) LLB (Hons) 1 Optional 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 2024/5 academic year.