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Criminal justice: Process and politics

Offer semester
1st semester

Lecture time
Monday 6:30pm –10:00pm

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 aim of this course is to introduce students to the key concepts of contemporary criminal justice policies and practices and the main debates and empirical issues in evaluating and researching on the criminal justice system. 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

The key readings for this course have been selected from a variety of sources. See weekly reading schedule. (To be posted in Moodle)


There are a few local texts which may be of particular interest:

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

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

Jones, C. (2007) Criminal Justice in Hong Kong. London: Routledge.

You may also find McLaughlin and Muncie (2006 and 2013), (2nd and 3rd edition), The Sage Dictionary of Criminology (London: Sage) useful as general reference.


Suggested e-journals with articles covering various topics of this course:

Criminology & Public Policy

Criminal Justice Policy Review

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