Criminal justice: Process and politics

Offer semester
2nd semester

Lecture time
Tuesday 18:30 – 21:20

Lecture venue

Course description

This course critically reviews the process of law enforcement with focus on the ways criminal justice policies are developed and the problems and issues arising from the implementation of different approaches to crime control. The course draws on relevant examples in local and global contexts to reflect on how questions about crime and its control are framed and how criminal justice policies are negotiated and put into practice.

Course learning outcomes

(a) An ability to understand main criminological concepts and debates about crime, crime control and criminal justice.

(b) An ability to assess competing assumptions and rationales in the development of crime control policies and criminal justice policies, practices and their impacts in the contemporary context.

(c) An ability to develop a reasoned argument and to present ideas in a clear and concise manner in oral presentation and in written work.


Individual Essay40%
Group Presentations20%

Required reading

Joyce, P. (Ed.) (2017) Criminal Justice – An Introduction (3rd edition), Oxon: Routledge.

Chui, W. H. and Lo, T. W. (Eds.) (2017) Understanding Criminal Justice in Hong Kong (2nd edition), Oxon: Routledge.

Recommended reading

Newburn, T. (2003), Crime and Criminal Justice Policy, (2nd Edn) London: Pearson Longman. (Chapters 4, 6, 8)

Gaylord, M. et al. (Eds.) (2009) Introduction to Crime, Law and Justice in Hong Kong, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Felson, M. (2018) ‘Policy levels for situational crime prevention’, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, September 2018, Vol.679(1): 198-201.

Welsh, B. et al. (2015) ‘Reimagining Broken Windows: From Theory to Policy’, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 52(4): 447-463.

Lageson, S. (2018) ‘The politics of public punishment’, Criminology & Public Policy, 17(3): 635-42.

Amnesty International, (2019) The Death Penalty in 2018- Facts and Figures /en/latest/news/2019/04/death-penalty-facts-and-figures-2018/

Hood, R. (2015) The Death Penalty. A World Wide Perspective (5th edition), Oxford, Oxford University Press. (Chapter 9, The Question of deterrence).

Course co-ordinator and teachers

Student view

This course allowed me to gain a ‘backstage’ insight into the social process that produces criminal policy, which gave me a deeper understanding of the magic of power and politics in society.

– Mavis Yip Oi Ying, 1st year MSocSc Criminology student