Working in Criminal Justice

Module code: CR2014

Module co-ordinator: Dr Rob Mawby

In the current climate, the British criminal justice system is undergoing significant changes. Although rates of recorded crime are falling, re-offending rates have hardly changed in the last ten years, with 58 per cent of prisoners who serve less than 12 months going on to re-offend in the year after release.

The Ministry of Justice plans to privatise the majority of the probation service and hand it over to private companies who will have a financial incentive to reduce re-offending. Some argue that the privatisation of the probation service will put the public at risk whilst others suggest that this initiative will cut both costs and re-offending.

At the same time, the numbers of police officers and police staff have reduced across England and Wales by up to 20 per cent, and this clearly presents a challenge for the police service. There are also calls for the introduction of the country’s first ever 'Victims’ Law' to give victims of crime entitlements to minimum standards of service, with the ability to hold those services accountable if standards are not met.

Given these conditions, this module offers an overview of the criminal justice system and explores contemporary debates in relation to the significant reforms that the criminal justice agencies are facing in Britain.

Topics covered

An in-depth exploration of the working environment of a series of criminal justice agencies, including:

  • Police Service
  • Prison Service
  • Probation Service
  • Youth Offending Service
  • Victim Support and Witness Service
  • Restorative Justice


  • 9 two-hour lectures
  • 9 one-hour seminars


  • Report, 4,000 words (100%)