Criminal Justice Processes


This module will provide students with an introduction to the criminal justice system and processes in Britain. It will examine how the criminal justice system operates, its key agencies and processes, as well as their relationship with the wider institutions, structures and issues in modern society. It will also look consider theories of and debates concerning crime and criminal justice and how these have influenced the history and development of the criminal justice system.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with: introductory knowledge and understanding of the criminal justice system, its aims, key agencies and processes and their relationship with the wider society.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Understand and consider the function and aims of the criminal justice system.

2.  Identify and understand the key agencies and processes involved in the criminal justice system.

3.  Identify and assess structural and individual responses to the 'problem' of crime and victimisation.

4.  Understand and consider the relationship between social power, inequality, crime and the criminal justice system.

5.  Have a foundation of knowledge for more specialized criminological studies courses and professional development.

6.  Work in both individual and group settings, and develop critical, collaborative, written and oral presentation skills.

Indicative Content

1 The Criminal Justice System

What is criminal justice? is there a criminal justice 'system'? general characteristics, themes and principles; theories and approaches to crime prevention and crime control; crime control models vs 'due process' models; criminal justice in Scotland.

2 Key Agencies

The role, functions and working practices of the main agencies operating within the criminal justice system (e.g. the police, courts, prisons and probation services) and the processes involved from arrest to probation.

3 Structural & Individual Responses to Crime and Victimisation

How does society perceive and respond to crime, justice and injustice?; 'Fighting' crime, 'helping' victims; politics, the media and moral panics.

4 Social Power, Inequality and Criminal Justice

Youth crime and justice; race and institutional racism; gender and crime; crime and criminalisation.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This module will help students to acquire knowledge and understanding of the criminal justice system, agencies, processes and issues. The module is based around lectures followed by tutorials that involve group based activities, discussions and presentations that will apply what the students learn from lectures and readings. The tutorials will also help students to develop their understanding and critical engagement with the complexities of the course subject matter and related issues. Assessment will be based on a written exam. The exam will help develop students¿ knowledge and understanding of, and critical engagement with, the course subject matter and material, as well as more practical time management skills. In terms of T&L, this module engages with technologies that support the development of enquiry based and collaborative learning and engagement. This is done through in-class collaborative group discussions, smaller group activities and presentations. Students will reflect on this method of learning in a select number of the activities themselves, an end of semester discussion and debriefing and their course evaluations. This module, its subject matter, activities, assessments, combination of independent and group work activities, as well as demand for reflection and reflexivity about their existing knowledge and assumptions about crime and the criminal justice system, in all their complexity, will ensure that the students develop and reflect on graduate attributes (e.g. becoming flexible collaborators, determined creators, challenging complexity and driving change, and confident thinkers).

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 20
Tutorial/Seminar 10
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 30
Independent 140

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.