The Ends of Punishment: Rehabilitation, Desistance and Abolition SOCIO5022

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The Ends of Punishment


10 x two-hour sessions

Requirements of Entry

In order to take this module you need to have met the requirements for entry into our MSc/PGDip/PGCert in Criminology and Criminal Justice Programme. This means achieving a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject.

Excluded Courses





One reflective text of 1,500 words (35%)

One essay of 3,000 words (65%)

Course Aims

The module aims to develop critical understandings of (1) rehabilitation and its contested role within theories and practices of punishment (2) how punishment is left behind by individuals - drawing on research about desistance from crime and (3) how punishment might be left behind by society, with a focus on arguments about abolition and possible alternatives.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Recognize and critique the arguments for and against rehabilitation as a penal strategy and practice 

■ Review and assess research evidence about desistance from crime

■ Evaluate the capacity of and prospects for contemporary forms of rehabilitation and desistance under conditions of late modernity

■ Integrate and synthesize normative and empirical arguments about the need for radical change, alternatives to punishment and the abolition of prisons, the police and/or the criminal justice system.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits