CRI-30044 - Prisons and Imprisonment
Coordinator: Mary Corcoran Room: CBB1.035 Tel: +44 1782 7 33104
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

This module explores the central role which prisons play in society, both as institutions which dominate the contemporary punitive network, and as places which absorb our social and cultural imagination.
Lectures may include:
Revisiting the prison crisis
1. The current state of our prisons
2. Popular and political representations of prisons
Prison community
3. Doing prison work
4. Prisoner communities
5. Riots and resistance in prison
6. Radicalisation and political imprisonment
Prisons and inequality
7. The gendered pains of imprisonment
8. Race, ethnicity and imprisonment
9. Youth/Children in prison
Penal futures
10. The penal-industrial complex
11. Prison reform and abolition
12. Life after imprisonment

The aims of the module are to:
Provide an overview of the central debates and controversies relating to the purpose of imprisonment and the role of the modern prison;
Develop an understanding of the political, cultural and social importance of imprisonment as a centrepiece of contemporary punishment;
Understand the effects of imprisonment on key actors in the prison system, such as prisoners, staff and non-correctional personnel;
Understand the effects of custody on individuals, their families and communities, and society at large;
Explore the relationship between imprisonment and inequality;
Critically engage with the major criminological and social scientific contributions in the area of imprisonment.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes


Study hours

12 x 1 hour weekly sessions comprising lecture-style tutor-led learning,
12 x 1 hour per student per week of workshop exercises comprising screenings, tutor led group debates, Padlet and interactive discussions in groups of up to 40 (the maximum permitted for interactive lecture formats).
12 x 2 hours of session specific preparation in advance of each session.
102 Hours of Personal study (including work for summative assessments).

School Rules

Students taking this module must have successfully completed one of the following modules:
CRI-10015 Punishment: beyond the public imagination
CRI-10013 Criminal Justice: process, policy, practice.
CRI-20020 Research methods in Criminology

Description of Module Assessment

1: Essay weighted 100%
3000 word essay on a topic based on the lectures and tutorial content of the module
Students will be asked to select an essay question based on the topics and content of the lecture series and workshops for this module. Students are supported in choosing their topic, reflecting on approach and structure, and guided in independent research of the topic. Students are encouraged to submit essay plans on KLE for feedforward, so that they have feedback available to support their preparation and writing.