CR5020 - The Criminal Justice System 2

What will I learn on this module?

Revisiting but developing on the introductory module The Criminal Justice System 1, this module offers students a view of the modern day criminal justice system, comprised as it now of both state agencies (such as the police, courts, prisons and the probation service) and non-state agencies (such as voluntary/third sector and private/social enterprise agencies). Students will appreciate how the criminal justice system currently works with a range of offenders and victims, both at the statutory and non-statutory level. As well as looking at the system in England and Wales, other comparative examples will be included to widen students’ knowledge of how justice systems operate in the global context. For example, students will be introduced to some key contemporary issues in policing, focusing on recent trends in pluralisation, private security, and the increase in surveillance technology, as well as police governance and accountability in the era of Black Lives Matter. Similarly, further in-depth examination of prisons and punishment will focus not only on the modern prison in England and Wales but also on policies and practices in Europe (including Nordic exceptionalism), the ‘Americanisation’ of the penal system, the role of privatisation on prisons and community sentences, and the effectiveness of retributive vs restorative justice practices and policies. The module will also engage practitioners working in the criminal justice field where possible as a way of extending students’ knowledge and developing concrete ideas for pathways into employment and/or ongoing study.

How will I learn on this module?

This module will be delivered using a combination of lectures and seminars. Lectures are used to convey core theoretical and substantive material, while seminars are designed to reinforce this knowledge via student-led discussions and additional case study materials. You will also be required to do some directed and independent study. Directed study generally takes the form of preparation for seminars (e.g. reading academic material or preparing written work) so that you can engage in informed discussions with your seminar group. Independent learning generally involves one or more of the following activities: consolidating your lecture and seminar material; engaging in further reading and study; and revising/preparing for the module assessments.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

On this module you will revisit and develop your learning in relation to the criminal justice system. This is a team-taught module, with two or three staff members available to support you via lectures, seminars, scheduled tutorial hours and via email and the electronic learning portal. There is also substantial support from your fellow students during seminars and outside of class. Your academic development will be facilitated through engagement with the newly emerging academic literature and by debating with your peers and academic tutors about your understanding of the literature. Developing your ability to reflect informatively and think critically about some of the challenges facing criminal justice and associated agencies is central to this module. You will be encouraged to explore online resources from a wide variety of authors (government, third sector organisations, criminal justice practitioners, former offenders, news organisations) and to actively engage with them to help your academic development.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge and Understanding:
1. To be able to identify and critically analyse contemporary criminal justice theory, policy and practice in contemporary Britain and other countries.

Intellectual / Professional Skills and abilities:
1. To engage in collaborative learning to critically explore debates related to criminal justice and to think creatively about how information and arguments can be communicated.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
1. To display intellectual curiosity and openness towards different ideas when analysing specific issues and topics.
2. To have confidence in your own knowledge and understanding about contemporary criminal justice theory, policy and practice, and to be open to different viewpoints.
3. To have confidence in your own knowledge and understanding of modern-day criminal justice systems in global and comparative context.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment: In-class discussions based on preparation outside of contact hours. Verbal feedback will be given via discussion groups. General feedback to the whole class will be available on the eLP. Feedback from the discussions will help you in preparing for the assessment. These discussions will address all MLOs.

Small interactive quizzes (non-assessed) will be used in seminars. Verbal and online feedback will be provided to the class. These quizzes will assess MLO 1 and 2.

An in-seminar task late in the semester will support you in preparing for the assessment. This task will ask you to plan a group presentation on a chosen criminal justice agency, linked to the assessment and deliver a short presentation. Feedback will be provided by both your peer group and by the seminar tutor. This will assess all MLOs.

The summative assessment for this module is a 3500 word project. This assessment will address MLOs 1, 2 and 4. The project will ask you to explore a criminal justice agency and critically discuss its role and its impact on offenders/prisoners. In addition, you will be expected to explore comparisons in the contemporary context and discuss any examples of good practice that we can take from the understanding of how other justice systems work.

Feedback will be individual and electronic.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code C8M9

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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