The research exercise (1,200 words MAX.) is an opportunity for students to undertake independent research with a focus on a particular area of law or correctional practice or penal setting. Students will develop and enhance their writing and analytical skills while gaining an appreciation of how social and political factors influence laws and practices around punishment.
Research one of the following topics and report your findings:
1. Profiting from punishment: When it comes to the value of private prisons, economic calculations, or any utilitarian position that presumes the criteria for measuring utility, cannot decide the issue. What are the actual or potential human and social costs (i.e. the ethical issues) of justifying prisons purely because they make (or save) money?
2. Restorative Justice: Who has the right to punish? Does restorative justice facilitate this right, or is it a true alternative to punishment? What are the criticisms of its capacity to fulfill the requirements of justice?
3. The punishment of women: How much should a person’s disadvantageous circumstances affect judgments on the appropriateness of punishing them? Analyse the tension between the demands of justice (with its traditional preoccupation with individual responsibility) and the injustice of responsibilisation’, the assigning of individual responsibility for social problems to those who are least able to bear it. Are there good arguments for ‘justice reinvestment’ or does this run the risk of rewarding, or inadequately dissuading, undesirable behaviour?
4. The ‘new punitiveness’: Are we moving away from the ‘civilising processes’ of modernism towards a ‘decivilising’ (Pratt 1998; 2000) punitive sentiment that characterises contemporary retributive practices in criminal justice? Explore with regard to the paradox of using (more) punishment where punishment has already failed, and analyse the implications of a sort of order achieved only on fear/terror of coercive force.
5. Comparative penal regimes: By comparing two regimes that show contrasting punitive practices, explain why coercive punishment is apparently more prevalent in some societal contexts than others. You may focus on specific aspects of cultural, political, religious or economic dynamics that might shed light on the question of whether some approaches to wrongdoing and punishment are better than others. What attitudes and ideas might preclude a culture’s recourse to violent ‘solutions’?
You may like to structure your written response by using the following headings. (NB: Whilst you are encouraged to use these or similar headings, do not recite either the text of the research topics above or the instructions below. Always use your own words because only they will earn you marks.)
Introduction and background – (200* words) Very concisely state your research question. Set the scene; give some background information about the topic and explain the current debate. This is to introduce and explain relevant theoretical concepts so as to contextualise your contribution to the argument. Give just a hint at what you found out and what your findings mean so as to alert your reader to what follows. (Do all this concisely so as to not risk repetition).
Findings & Discussion – (750* words) Organise your concepts and findings in a logical sequence to present an argument for how best to understand the situation. What interpretations and judgements have you made and how are these supported? Use short informative subheadings if desired (but not if this risks disturbing the flow of your argument and discussion).
Implications & Recommendations – (250* words) What is the significance of your findings and your discussion? What suggestions can be drawn from your argument?
References – A properly formatted list of all, and only, the sources you cited in your text.
* The length of these sections might be adjusted to suit.
Before Submitting your work:
ØTyping must be double-spaced 12-point font (‘Times New Roman’ or ‘Cambria’) with 2.53cm
margins. Insert page numbers.
ØA list of all sources cited in your essay must be included and must comply with the accepted referencing conventions
Your list of references should contain no fewer than 8 different ACADEMIC sources; media and institutional sources will be in addition to the eight academic