Judging Crime

Subject CRIM90009 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 contact hours: A 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks.
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Criminology at Undergraduate level

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Dr Karen Gelb



Subject Overview:

This subject is about the ways in which the criminal justice system responds to crime. It examines the principles that judges and magistrates must consider when sentencing offenders and the role of judicial discretion in the sentencing process. The subject includes an examination of some of the more recent approaches to dealing with offenders that are available in Australia, such as the restorative justice and therapeutic jurisprudential practices used in problem-solving courts and alternative dispute resolution. The effectiveness of different sentencing options is considered, with a special focus on imprisonment and parole. Finally, the subject examines the research on public perceptions of sentencing, and considers the role of the public in sentencing policy and practice. At the end of this subject students should have a clear understanding of the principles and purposes of sentencing, an appreciation of the research literature on the effectiveness of different sentencing options and approaches, and a healthy skepticism of media representations of ‘lenient’ sentencing decisions.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should have:

  • an understanding of the principles and purposes of sentencing;
  • an understanding of the research evidence on the effectiveness of different sentencing options and approaches;
  • an appreciation of the complexities of criminal justice responses to offending behaviour;
  • an ability to examine media reports of sentencing outcomes with a critical eye; and
  • an ability to apply knowledge of the research evidence to contemporary criminal justice policy debate.
  • A 1,500 word preliminary essay (30%) due mid-semester.
  • A research essay of 3,500 words (70%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 80% of classes in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available through the LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • have highly developed cognitive, analytic and problem-solving skills;
  • have an advanced understanding of complex concepts and the ability to express them lucidly in writing and orally;
  • have an ability to plan work and to use time effectively;
  • have sophisticated awareness of cultural, ethnic and gender diversities and their implications.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Criminology
150 Point Master of Criminology
200 Point Master of Criminology
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Criminology
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - Criminology
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - Socio-Legal Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Criminology
PD-ARTS Criminology
PD-ARTS Socio-Legal Studies

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