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SP10337: Crime, social justice and social policy

[Page last updated: 01 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Credits: 12 [equivalent to 24 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 240
Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: CW 20%, PF 80%
Assessment Detail:
  • CW 20% (CW 20% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
  • SP10336 - PF 80% Portfolio (PF 80% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: By the end of this unit students will be able to:
* Recognise and evaluate different conceptions of 'justice'
* Appreciate the relationship between criminal justice and social policy
* Apply critical criminological thinking to a range of case studies of state and corporate crime
* Discuss the role of the criminal justice system in treating social harms.

Aims: This unit aims to expand students' understanding of justice by introducing them to ideas about state crime, corporate crime, and the harms produced by the criminal justice system itself. These will entail wider conceptual and analytical linkages to social policy and social welfare. This will encourage students to think about why certain events/experiences are treated within the criminal justice system rather than as social policy/political issues (and, the obverse - why certain harmful events/experiences are treated outside the criminal justice system).

Skills: The unit will foster the following intellectual skills:
* the ability to develop a reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
* the ability to assess the merits and appropriateness of different approaches to justice
* the ability draw on evidence from a range of sources and demonstrate an ability to synthesise them.

The unit will foster the following professional/practical skills:
* written and oral communication skills, both individually and in group environments
* the ability to use a range of information and communication technologies effectively for processing and communicating information.

The unit will foster the following transferable/key skills:
* the ability to develop and present a well-structured, coherent essay
* the ability to develop and present an argument through oral presentation
* the ability to marshal evidence and theory to support or challenge an argument in such a way as to demonstrate a critical awareness of the origin and bases of knowledge
* the ability to work and communicate as individuals
* skills in working and communicating effectively as a team
* skills in information technology
* critical and analytical skills.

Content: This unit will cover topics such as:
1. Who makes social and criminal justice policy, and with what aims?
2. What is the difference between crime and social harm?
3. Zemiology and a social harm perspective
4. Why some social harms are not criminalised? (and the reverse)
5. Social justice and inequality
6. Activism and policy

Programme availability:

SP10337 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences

SP10337 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 1)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.