Punishment, Justice and Reform - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 3
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: SP2 , SP4
  • Availability for 2018: SP2 , SP4
  • Assessment: Assignment 1 - Argumentative essay (30%) , Assignment 2 - Policy proposal (30%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit explores the major sociological theories of punishment, and it examines the intended and unintended social and psychological consequences of imprisonment. Variation in the experience of institutions of criminal justice, especially prison, is explored with reference to social relations and classifications of gender, race-ethnicity, age and mental health.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. describe the diversity of punishment and sentencing options that are available in Australia
  2. compare and contrasts the key penological principles of that inform sentencing and punishment, and identify their strengths and limitations
  3. compare and contrast the arguments of key social theorists of punishment and identify their strengths and limitations
  4. distinguish between penological principles and social theories concerned with punishment
  5. apply these principles and theories in the analysis and assessment of programs of sentencing and punishment
  • Assignment 1 — Argumentative essay (30%)
  • Assignment 2 — Policy proposal (30%)
  • Essays — Short essays (40%)

This is not an introductory unit, it is a third year unit. You should complete other first and second year criminology units before starting this unit.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1It's not just about the prison
2Principles and practices of punishment and sentencing
3Manifestations of punishment
4Classical social perspectives on punishment
5Contemporary social perspectives on punishment
6Risk: Registries and community notification
8Rehabilitation: Drug courts
9Rehabilitation: Indigenous courts
10Rehabilitation: Domestic violence courts
11Restitution: Conferencing
12Restitution: From fines to forfeiture
13Unit overview; The three Rs of the penological triangle

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture

Online materials

  • Audio/Video - Streaming
  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

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