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CRI1123 Punishment and Reform

Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Law and Justice
Grading basis : Graded
Course fee schedule : https://www.unisq.edu.au/current-students/administration/fees/fee-schedules
Version produced : 4 February 2023


Punishment for those who violated the law has both an instrumental and symbolic purpose. It serves to impose a sanction on the offender for his or her wrongdoing, while also reinforcing to society more broadly that crime will not be tolerated and there are repercussions for those who engage in offending behaviour. Punishment in modern day Australian society is vastly different from the days of trial by battle or ordeal, yet many of the aims and principles of punishment remain. This course will examine the history of punishment and how penal policy has changed over time. Students will be presented with theories of punishment, types of punishment and the role of punishment in society. The mandate upon community and custodial corrections to carry out sentences will be examined as well as some of the challenges encountered by these agencies such as the overrepresentation of disadvantaged populations, deaths in custody, and public perceptions of punishment. Other issues also considered are immigrant detention centres, public notification schemes, diversionary programs and prison privatisation.

Punishing offenders is one of the central operations of the criminal justice system and is expected by the public to be carried out dutifully. But why do we punish those who violate the law? Is punishment effective in what it aims to achieve? Are there other alternatives for dealing with offenders apart from the traditional punishment responses? Should the death penalty be re-introduced in Australia? These questions and others will be explored throughout the course to encourage students to think critically about punishment in the context of how current Australian penal policies set about achieving the aims and objectives of punishment. This course is suitable for students who are interested in a career in the criminal justice system, policy development, public service, social justice or social welfare.

Course offers

Study period Mode Campus
Semester 2, 2022 Online
Date printed 4 February 2023