CR6005 - Doing Time: The Prison Experience

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What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will get the opportunity to address a range of issues and ethical dilemmas that derive from the 'real world' of applied methods and strategies of penal intervention. Considerations of class, gender and ethnicity constitute key aspects of the conceptual framework and the principles of 'security, control and justice' are critically examined in the operational context.

The module will encourage you to pay particular attention to the diversity of experience, response and adaptation of those subjected to the varied sanctions within the penal system. Power imbalance and the relationships of authority, discipline and coercion are central issues within the overall perspective. Important areas included for discussion and debate are: young people, foreign national and ethnic minority prisoners, life-sentence prisoners; the treatment of vulnerable prisoners and mentally disordered offenders in penal and other 'controlling' institutions. Human Rights legislation in the prison context will also be critically analysed


The lecture programme will introduce you to topics and the seminars will provide opportunities to take forward discussion in depth. Assessment is by a 4,000 word project which is based upon a particular type of prison (100%). You will be able to choose from a number of different types of prisons and to demonstrate how their chosen prison type reflects on the wider question of the relationship between the prison and the prisoner experience.

How will I learn on this module?

You will be taking part in a range of learning activities on this module including lectures by the module tutor as well as guest speakers. You will be participating in sessions that are sometimes seminar based and student-led and at other times workshop activities are enjoyed making the learning experience varied and challenging. Appropriate film and documentaries will form part of the repertoire of materials that are drawn upon during your weekly teaching experience.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

On the module you will be academically supported in several ways. First, the teaching team will be available in person at the lectures and throughout the fieldtrip to guide you through the module and answer any questions. Second, you will be able to email the teaching team and meet them during set office hours to ask questions. Third the module has an online electronic learning portal website including a module handbook that guides you through many frequently asked questions.

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. Critically evaluate a broad range of experience in respect of those subjected to the various forms of punishment and penalty within the penal system.

2. Evaluate the structural, organisational and ethical context of power relationships against a backdrop of both consensual and competing rationalisations and justifications of penal policy and practice.

3. Critically understand the principles of 'security, control and justice' and their respective adherence by institutionalised penal processes and assess the purpose and provision of various penal institutions in terms of different offender typology and diverse personal and social background.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. To further develop and enhance skills in collecting, interpreting and presenting data.

Personal Values Attributes:
1. Demonstrate evaluative skills appropriate to level 6 and improved abilities in transferable skills such as library research, IT, written communication, oral presentation, critical analysis, problem solving and teamwork appropriate to level 6.

How will I be assessed?

4,000 word project on one type of prison which will provide a critique of contemporary penal policy, You will be expected to demonstrate an ability to apply theory to practice and critically evaluate the impact of the prison establishment upon the prisoner.





Module abstract

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

Course info

UCAS Code LL44

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2021

Fee Information

Module Information

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