Criminal Justice: Current Issues, Comparative Contexts SOCIO5058

  • 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 course explores current issues facing criminal justice systems around the world. It draws on the experiences of students and teachers from different jurisdictions - and on criminological and socio-legal scholarship -- to explore how these issues have been and continue to be constituted and manifested differently in particular social and political conditions, and with what consequences for the countries and systems in question. The selection of issues and of countries varies from year to year to reflect the students recruited and the staff involved (who may include visiting scholars at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research).


10 x two hour sessions

Requirements of Entry



Assessment will be through course work which could include essay, class presentation and group work - total 4,000 words (100%)

Course Aims

The course builds an international and comparative perspective in introducing students to key issues of criminal justice, how these are constituted and manifested in specific social and political conditions, and with what consequences for the states and systems in question.


It aims to:

■ build understanding of different approaches to developing and reforming criminal justice systems and institutions;

■ enhance students' understandings of some of the key issues facing contemporary criminal justice systems;

■ develop students' understandings of how different systems respond to these issues, exploring and explaining convergences and divergences of approach;

■ enable students' to engage critically with debates about international and comparative criminal justice

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ demonstrate a critical understanding of the legal, cultural, social and political contexts of the development and reform of criminal justice institutions and interventions;

■ demonstrate a critical understanding of some key issues in contemporary criminal justice systems

■ critically contextualise and evaluate different responses to these issues

■ show a critical appreciation of key debates in international and comparative criminal justice 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Generic regulations apply.