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Unit information: Controlling Crime and Social Harm in 2019/20

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Controlling Crime and Social Harm
Unit code SPOL10021
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Mulvihill
Open unit status Open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


Crime and related harms are major social issues requiring state intervention. This unit introduces students to the way states have attempted to control crime and social harm both in terms of offending and victimisation in national and international contexts. Specifically, the unit will:

  • Examine the main institutions and organisations responsible for the control of crime and social harm
  • Assess policy interventions in the context of wider theoretical debates about how states control (or not) crime and related social harms.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  • explain the historical development of major institutions and organisations (e.g. police, health and safety bodies, courts) involved in the control of crime and social harms
  • understand the contemporary role and practice of these the institutions
  • assess how the practices and policies relevant to these institutions relate to broader theoretical debates about the control of crime and harm in society.

Teaching details

Lectures (20 hours) and Seminars (10 hours) plus 1 reading week and 1 revision week.

Assessment Details

The assessments have been developed in order to meet the intended learning outcomes of the unit:

Formative assessment is by:

  • a group seminar presentation based on student observations of proceedings at either the Magistrates' court or Crown court, and
  • an essay of 2000 words (maximum)

Summative assessment is by:

  • 2 hour unseen exam.

All assessment is marked against the published marking criteria for that level, as stated in the Programme handbook.

Reading and References

Bell, E. (2011) Criminal Justice and Neo-liberalism, London: Palgrave

Davies, M. and Croall, H. (2015, 5th ed.) Criminal Justice, Harlow: Pearson Education, London: Palgrave Macmillan

Drake, D., Muncie, J., & Marland, L. (2010, eds.) Criminal Justice: local and global, Cullompton: Open University/Willan

Garland, D. (2001) The culture of control: crime and social order in contemporary society, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Rawlings, P. (1999) Crime and power: a history of criminal justice 1688-1998, London: Longman

Roberts, J. (2015) Criminal Justice: a very short introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press