The University of New South Wales

go to UNSW home page

Handbook Home

Penology - JURD7405
 Law Books

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 4
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: LAWS1001, LAWS1011; Corequisite: LAWS2311; Excluded: CRIM2024, CRIM2026. Prerequisite: JURD7101, JURD7111; Corequisite: JURD7211; Excluded: CRIM2024, CRIM2026.
Excluded: LAWS3105
Fee Band: 1 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


Penology is an advanced socio-legal, research-based elective involving a study of the field of penality. It should be attractive to advanced level students looking for a research- based elective which enables you to hone your research and writing skills and develop your theoretical, legal, policy and presentational skills in a collegial, interactive teaching environment in which students are treated with respect.

Recommended Prior Knowledge

Completion of Criminal Law 1 and 2.

Course Objectives

  • To study and critically reflect upon a range of materials and issues which arise out of what traditionally has been called penology, or the study of punishment
  • To develop an understanding of the key processes involved in the field of penality (the development of policy analysis skills which are transferable and interdisciplinary intellectual skills)
  • To improve student’s interdisciplinary capacities
  • To enhance the ability to move between theoretical, legal, sociological, criminological and penological, and cultural sources and knowledges
  • To enhance their abilities to produce a publishable quality piece of research work
  • To develop and refine research and writing skills
  • A capacity to construct an argument, both written and oral, which combines doctrinal and interdisciplinary research skills, detailed doctrinal disciplinary knowledge, and enhanced policy skills

Main Topics

  • The phenomenon of mass imprisonment
  • The "new punitiveness", sentencing and parole
  • The courts, the law and prisoners rights
  • Intractables and supermax prisons
  • Indigenous imprisonment
  • Women's imprisonment
  • Immigration detention
  • Prison privatisation


Parole assignment: 20%
Class participation: 10%
Essay Synopsis and seminar presentation: 10%
4,000 word research essay: 60%

Course Texts

Course Materials, available through UNSW bookshop.


  • Brown, D. and Wilkie, M. (eds) Prisoners as Citizens (2002), The Federation Press: Sydney
  • Bree Carlton, Imprisoning Resistance, Institute of Criminology Press: Sydney (2007)
  • David Garland, The Culture of Control, Oxford Univ Press (2001)
  • Bernie Matthews, Intractable, Pan Macmillan Aust (2006)
  • John Pratt, Penal Populism, Routledge (2007)
  • John Pratt, David Brown, Mark Brown, Simon Hallsworth, and Wayne Morrison (eds) The New Punitiveness, (2005) Willan Publishing (Available through The Federation Press in Sydney)


Library holdings. Guest speakers. Prison visit organised if possible.

URL for this page:

© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.