CR5006 - Race, Crime and Justice

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What will I learn on this module?

In many societies, issues relating to race, racism and crime are high on political, policy and academic agendas. Often these concerns relate to the over-representation of minority groups at various stages of the criminal justice systems. In the UK and many other societies, minority communities often are more likely to be victims of crime. Similarly they tend to be over-represented in contacts with the police, at various stages of the criminal justice system, and in prisons.

You will examine the nature of these disproportionalities and develop understanding of the complex ways in which they reflect, and in turn reinforce, broader patterns of exclusion and inequality. You will critically consider the extent to which the over-representation of minorities in the CJS is a reflection of higher offending levels of minorities, who are often more likely to experience social and economic disadvantage. Further you will examine processes of criminalisation and racialisation that also explain disparities.

As much as minorities are over-represented as 'clients' of the criminal justice system it is also clear that they are consistently under-represented in personnel terms. You will analyse the nature and possible causes of the under-representation of minorities in police, courts, probation and prison services and critically analyse the extent to which rectifying these patterns would help improve the position of minorities within criminal justice.

You will reflect on and research broader relationships between 'race', racism and crime. This will be considered through perspectives on the causes of crime, media and cultural representations of crime, and contemporary debates about Islamaphobia, terrorism and security.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through different teaching and learning strategies and techniques, and by completing a range of tasks. The 2-hour sessions will be primarily led by the tutor, and the seminar sessions, guided by the tutor, will be based on your preparation outside classes.

You should expect
• Research rich lectures
• Engagement with and analysis of media – many 2-hour sessions include short media clips (TV, film, radio, podcasts, music, gaming, visual and performing art) about the topic, which will spark discussion
• In-class tasks including theoretical analysis of practitioner blogs, government reports and news items
• Small group work
• Interactive online in-class quizzes
• Inside and outside class to read, summarise and evaluate scholarly, practitioner, government and former offender written literature

You will have access to an online learning space as part of the module. This will include module outline and other general information, assessments, electronic readings lists, announcements, teaching materials, vlogs and tweets from the module leader.

The module aims to consolidate your skills in areas such as team work and research. The research may be with others or on an individual basis. You are expected to carry out the preparation for each week, and be willing to share this information with others on the module to help provoke discussion and disagreement. These skills will help to develop your confidence in in synthesising, evaluating, explaining and discussing information from a wide range of sources.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be able to get support on this module face to face and online.

Face to face support will be provided by the module tutor(s) in the lectures, workshops, seminars by answering questions, helping you to explore discussion points and prepare for assignments. You can attend a tutor’s office hours, or make an appointment at other times. Face to face support will also be offered by other students in your class. Through the ongoing debates about the topics, you will be encouraged to offer support and constructive criticism to your peers.

All of the module materials are available through the e-learning portal; this includes the module outline and reading lists. Help sheets and vlogs on the assignments and how to search for and access online resources will be posted by the tutors. They will also regularly post items of interest from the news on the e-portal. The module will have an associated blog where each week small groups will be required to post discussion points and topic summaries. These will help as a reminder and support your assignment preparation.

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, documentary makers) 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 & Understanding:

1. To be able to identify, explain and evaluate the patterns of over-representation of minority ethnic groups within criminal justice (as victims and offenders) and their under-representation as practitioners.

2. To critically analyse criminological perspectives on race and crime.

3. To be able to critically explore wider conceptual links between race and crime, including media representations and political discourse on terrorism and security.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

1. To collaborate with others to question and explore the ongoing debates about race and crime, and to exchange these views through face to face engagement, written pieces and online research and discussion. Analysis of data and statistics are important skills developed through the module.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

1. To have ethical and intellectual capacity to interrogate common debates and perceptions relating to race, crime and justice and to explore links between criminal justice practice and wider patterns of inequality and marginalisation.

How will I be assessed?

Thirty per cent of module credits will be awarded in relation to in-class seminar activities. These will include tests relating to data analysis and short answer quiz questions on topics covered in the module. You will participate in four such activities: one early, two mid-way, and one at the end of the module. The strongest three will be used to provide credit in respect of thirty per cent of the module.

Written feedback will be given on individual preparation, and written and verbal feedback will be given in seminar sessions. General feedback to the whole class will be available on the eLP.

These in-class activities will assess MLO 1.

The essay will be submitted after the end of teaching. This will be a traditional academic piece and will account for 70 per cent of the module mark. You will use feedback from the previous assessments to help you with this and will be given written feedback. This assessment will address MLO 1, 2, and 3.





Module abstract

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

Course info

UCAS Code M900

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020 or September 2021

Fee Information

Module Information

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