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CRI2020 - Prisons, power and justice

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader(s): Bree Carlton


Caulfield First semester 2009 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2009 (Day)


Students read, analyse and discuss the nature and history of punishment and the institution of the prison. The relationship between punishment, social control and the differential impact of punishment on diverse communities are explored. Contemporary and comparative issues examined include the impact of new technologies, neo-liberalism, globalisation on the prison as a prevailing institution of punishment. In exploring the origins and development of the prison in historical and contemporary contexts different modes of punishment are explored such as the 'spectacular' punishments of the gallows, corporal and capital punishment, home and administrative detention and community corrections.


On successful completion of this unit students will have:

  1. A critical awareness of the history of punishment in Australia, and internationally and contemporary trends in punishment.
  2. An understanding of the various theories and types of punishment and the role of punishment and specifically the prison in society.
  3. The skills to critically analyse debates about the role and nature of punishment throughout history and in contemporary times.
  4. An ability to present a fluid and logical argument about the role of punishment in society.
  5. The ability to formulate ideas, based on evidence and theory, about the role and nature of punishment in different societies, countries and over time.
  6. An understanding of the factors influencing the historical and contemporary development of the prison as a principal institution of punishment.
In addition to the above students taking this unit at level 3 will have:
  1. A demonstrated advanced theoretical appreciation and understanding of the changing role and nature of institutional forms of punishment in historical and contemporary contexts.
  2. Demonstrated advanced skills to critically analyse theories and debates about the role and nature of punishment in society.


Written work (includes exam, class quiz & essay): 90%
Tutorial participation and presentation: 10%

Contact hours

One 1-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week


CJC1001,CJC1002 , or CRI1001, CRI1002

These subjects are prerequisites only if students wish to undertake a Criminal Justice and Criminology major. The subject can be taken as an elective without prerequisites.



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