The course provides a detailed and critical introduction to the study of criminal justice institutions, practices and participants.

It begins with an introduction to the nature of crime and contemporary criminal justice policy. It then examines the main elements of modern criminal justice systems (police, courts, prisons, probation, the media, and private security).

Special emphasis is given to current issues such as restorative justice and increasing rates of incarceration. The course combines up-to-date empirical work with theoretical perspectives and also emphasises the role of historical and comparative perspectives in understanding current trends.