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CRI1123 Punishment and Reform

Semester 2, 2019 On-campus Springfield
Short Description: Punishment and Reform
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Law and Justice
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 099903 - Criminology
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Krystal Lockwood


Punishment for those who violated the law has both an instrumental and symbolic purpose. It serves to impose a sanction on the offender for his or her wrongdoing, while also reinforcing to society more broadly that crime will not be tolerated and there are repercussions for those who engage in offending behaviour. Punishment in modern day Australian society is vastly different from the days of trial by battle or ordeal, yet many of the aims and principles of punishment remain. This course will examine the history of punishment and how penal policy has changed over time. Students will be presented with theories of punishment, types of punishment and the role of punishment in society. The mandate upon community and custodial corrections to carry out sentences will be examined as well as some of the challenges encountered by these agencies such as the overrepresentation of disadvantaged populations, deaths in custody, and public perceptions of punishment. Other issues also considered are immigrant detention centres, public notification schemes, diversionary programs and prison privatisation.


Punishing offenders is one of the central operations of the criminal justice system and is expected by the public to be carried out dutifully. But why do we punish those who violate the law? Is punishment effective in what it aims to achieve? Are there other alternatives for dealing with offenders apart from the traditional punishment responses? Should the death penalty be re-introduced in Australia? These questions and others will be explored throughout the course to encourage students to think critically about punishment in the context of how current Australian penal policies set about achieving the aims and objectives of punishment. This course is suitable for students who are interested in a career in the criminal justice system, policy development, public service, social justice or social welfare.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Define penology and the key concepts within the study of punishment and sentencing
  2. Describe the practice of penology from a theoretical perspective
  3. Draw comparisons between historical and current day penological practices and explain the reasons for penological reforms.
  4. Discuss the connection between anticipated risk and punishment
  5. Explain the purposes and intended outcomes of punishment
  6. Discuss the ethical challenges in the use of punishment in association with diverse and disadvantaged groups.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to penology and the history of punishment 10.00
2. Theoretical perspectives on punishment 30.00
3. Penological practice and risk 20.00
4. Penological practice and rehabilitation 20.00
5. Penological practice and restitution 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Bull, M 2010, Punishment and Sentencing, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Victoria.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 65.00
Directed Study 39.00
Private Study 61.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
REFLECTIVE PAPER 20 20 28 Aug 2019 (see note 1)
WRITTEN ESSAY 30 30 17 Oct 2019 (see note 2)
EXAM CMA 50 50 End S2

  1. Date will change each offering and will be updated accordingly prior to commencement Assessment due date will fall within the first six weeks of the course commencement
  2. Date will change each offering and will be updated accordingly prior to commencement

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them, to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative items for the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into a closed examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments must comply with the APA referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ library's referencing guide. These guides can be found at

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:

Conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement and is benchmarked against the internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review.