Punishment in the society

Summative assessment : Essay (2000 words)

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate justifications for punishment and the challenge posed by abolitionist critiques.
  2. Synthesise and critique a range of theoretical perspectives which explain the nature of punishment and how punishment in societies has evolved.
  3. Understand different types of punishment used in contemporary society and its impact on particular groups.
  4. Reflect on how punishment is shaped by political economy.
  5. Write a well-argued, clear and accurate document.

Type of Assessment: Essay

Students should write a 2000 word essay answering one of the following questions:

  1. Drawing on Sim’s article (2016) on prisons’ budget cuts during austerity, critically discuss the following quote: “The current [prison] crisis has been relentlessly tied to the budget cuts. While the cuts have intensified the crisis, they are not its cause”.
  2. How do race and / or gender affect the ‘pains of imprisonment’?
  3. What is ‘penal populism’ and how has it influenced punishment in England and Wales over the last 30 years?
  4. Choose ONE of the theoretical perspectives on punishment we have studied: Durkheimian, Marxist, Foucauldian, or feminist. Critically evaluate the Prison Industrial Complex using your chosen theory.


Formatting guidance:

  • Essay should be typed using: font size 12; font type Arial, Calibri or Times; 1.5 line spacing
  • Harvard referencing