Postgraduate

Modules

Modules

PSY8046 : Legal Psychology and the Criminal Justice System

Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This module is designed to introduce students to the interdisciplinary nature of forensic psychology in the context of legal processes and to the application of psychological knowledge to the civil & criminal justice systems. This module will discuss a range of theoretical approaches that have been used to explain psychology & law, and will provide an understanding of the principles of studying the criminal justice system. Students will analyse the ways in which psychological theories can be applied to the criminal justice process investigative process (including the presentation of evidence), issues relating to jury selection and decision making, the nature of expert evidence and the through-care and after-care of victims, witnesses and suspects of crime.

Outline Of Syllabus

• Introduction to the civil and criminal justice systems
• Reflective practice
• Applications and interventions within the criminal and civil justice systems, including procedures and concepts
• Evaluating evidence
• Jury decision making
• Expert witness testimony
• The relationship and psychological impact of the legal processes in relation to victims, witnesses and suspects of crime
• Psychology and the application/process of detention to individuals
• Through-care and aftercare for victims, witnesses & suspected offenders of crime (including the management of convicted offenders).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork32:006:00Court Visits
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1701:00170:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge outcomes will be delivered by lectures, independent group-work (visits to Court) and private reading/study. Students will work in small groups to attend local Courts and write their reflective journal. This independent work will be supported during the lectures. To further guide students in attaining expected knowledge and skills, private study hours will be recommended. Students will be given detailed guidance on the principles of reflective writing/reflective logs (ICA) and how to write a critical analysis of a previously published article (ECA). The private study time will allow students to carry out an in depth review of the knowledge imparted through lectures, to generate their own views on the topics and to follow these out by carrying out independent reviews of the literature, thereby taking control over their learning and preparing them for the assignments.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Reflective log2M301,000 word reflective journal on individual experience of attending local Courts -ICA
Essay2M703,000 word critical review of a published paper - ECA (to be agreed with module leader before submitting)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This module will be assessed by two summative assessments as detailed below:

ICA: Students will be required to attend the local courts (Crown, Magistrates and Youth) over the first 6 weeks of the module and write a 1,000 reflective journal on their experiences (30% of total module mark). The reflective journal should include details of the ways in which psychological theories can be applied to the criminal justice process; the language used by criminal justice professionals; the giving of evidence; expert witness testimony; issues relating to jury decision making. A guide to assist students in how to write a reflective journal will be provided.


ECA: A 3,000 word critical review of a published paper (70% of total module mark) relating to one aspect of legal psychology and the criminal justice system (unrelated to the ICA). Students should demonstrate that they have developed the ability to critically evaluate theories relating to this module and that they have the critical knowledge and understanding of the various techniques utilised in studying Legal Psychology and the Criminal Justice System, together with the ethical issues involved. Students should demonstrate that they have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the importance and extent of Legal Psychology and the Criminal Justice System, and possess a critical appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of the key theories. A guide to assist students in how to write a critical review will be provided.

The ICA and ECA will assess both the knowledge and skills outcomes for this module (e.g., writing skills, critical analysis, constructing an evidence based argument, reflective thinking).

Reading Lists

Timetable