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  This module is a resource for lecturers  

 

Exercises

 

This section contains suggestions for pre-class and in-class educational exercises, while post-class assignments for assessing students' understanding of the Module are suggested in a separate section. Some of the exercises below call for small group participation and feedback to the class. When feedback is required during the Module, lecturers should use discretion, because not all groups will be able to provide feedback every time. Lecturers should ensure that all groups get the opportunity to provide feedback at least once.

 

Pre-class exercise

1. Ask all students to think about the question: 'What is a crime?', and to identify behaviours in their jurisdiction that may be criminalized in their country but not in others (for example, same-sex marriage, sex work, drug use, abortion etc.).

Lecturer Guidelines

At the start of the class, divide students into small groups to brainstorm the issue, and use flip charts to report back. This exercise can form the basis of a class discussion about the factors that contribute to the imposition of criminal justice punishments (and/or custodial sentences) for some behaviours, and not for others. This exercise should take no more than 10 minutes.

 

In-class exercises

2. Invite experts from the field as guest speakers. Suitable professionals include: social workers; restorative justice workers; police officers; and probation officers. If this is not feasible, lecturers could record an interview with the speaker prior to the class.

Lecturer Guidelines

Interview/talk should last no longer than 10 minutes. The video/talk can then be used to instigate and inform group discussion. Prior to the interview or talk, lecturers should ask each student to write down one question on the topic, and facilitate a ten-minute Q&A session after, integrating as many questions from the students as possible within the time limit. This exercise should take no more than 20 minutes.

3. Ask students to divide into groups of three or four, to consider the following question: ' What are the main advantages and disadvantages of non-custodial sanctions?'

Lecturer Guidelines

Students can use flip-charts or notes to report back to the group. This task should take no more than ten minutes.

4. Invite students to brainstorm the question in small groups: ' To what extent can non-custodial measures achieve the different aims of criminal punishment?'

Lecturer Guidelines

Students can use flip-charts or notes to report back to the group. This task should take no more than ten minutes.

5. Invite students, either individually or in small groups, to engage with innovative online case studies, based on 'you be the judge' interactive guides to sentencing.

Lecturer Guidelines

Two examples are given below which can be used.

  • ' You be the judge' from the UK Judiciary. This resource encourages students to imagine they were a judge, to read about some typical cases and then decide what sentence they would pass, and compare it with what actually happened. There are six different types of crimes that are covered: threatening behaviour, teen crime, vandalism, mugging, drug dealing, burglary, manslaughter and murder. Ask students to choose one crime in the class. Each case should take no more than five to ten minutes to complete. Use a further two minutes to ask students to report back to the class (with a show of hands) how accurate they were in their sentencing decisions compared to the real outcome.
  • ' You be the judge' from the Sentencing Advisory Council in Victoria, Australia. This online programme allows students to participate in different aspects of a sentencing hearing, receive information from victims, offenders, prosecutors, defence lawyers and the judge. After progressing through the factors involved in the sentencing process, students will be able to sentence each offender and compare the outcome with the actual judge. It includes four different cases:
    • Richard, convicted of culpable driving caused by death;
    • Dane, convicted of causing injury;
    • Terri, convicted of trafficking in a drug of dependence; and,
    • Peter, convicted of burglary.
  • Each case may take between 20-30 minutes to complete. If it is difficult to fit this exercise within the class structure, this could also be used as a pre-class exercise, with feedback from students provided at the beginning of the class - use two minutes at the end to ask students to report back to the class (with a show of hands) how accurate they were in their sentencing decisions compared to the real outcome.

6. Towards the end of the Module, ask students to divide into small groups to consider one or both of the following questions: (i) ' Why are alternatives to imprisonment often not supported by politicians and the media?' (ii) 'What barriers need to be overcome to implement effective alternatives to imprisonment?'

Lecturer Guidelines

Students can use flip-charts or notes to report back to the group. This task should take no more than 10-15 minutes.

 
Next: Case studies
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