This module is a resource for lecturers
This section provides suggestions for a post-class assignment for the purpose of assessing student understanding of the Module. Suggestions for pre-class or in-class assignments are provided in the Exercises section.
To assess students' understanding of the Module, possible essay/examination questions could include:
- To what extent can and does the sanction of imprisonment meet the differing aims of criminal punishment?
- "Individuals are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment." Discuss.
- Why are prisoners' rights important?
- Are prisons in crisis around the world?
- To what extent are Sykes's 'pains of imprisonment' relevant to contemporary understanding of the impact of imprisonment?
- "Prisons detain the most vulnerable and marginal groups in society." Discuss.
- "Prison staff are underpaid and overworked." Discuss.
- To what extent, if at all, should prisoners' complaints be treated seriously?
- Which human rights standards are the most relevant to prison reform in the twenty-first century? To what extent can and should they be implemented?
- Discuss the extent to which individualized sentence plans, normalized regimes and constructive activities can improve public safety?
- Can the development of alternatives to imprisonment address the problem of overcrowding in prisons?
- "Imprisonment around the world should be abolished." Discuss.
Assessed presentations provide a useful basis from which to assess whether students have understood the different topics covered in the classroom. Lecturers should set down a clear time-limit for assessment presentations (for example, 20 minutes, including five minutes for two to three questions from the student audience). Assessment may be based on the following three criteria:
- the delivery of the presentation, including pace, engagement with the audience, use of visual materials, handouts etc. (20%)
- a clear and logical research plan, identifying key sources, evidence of critical thinking etc. (20%); and
- the overall content and coherence of the main argument and presentation (60%).
Topics for assessed presentations should reflect one part of the Module content. The questions below are provided as examples:
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the theories of punishment?
- Why is prison reform important?
- To what extent can prison overcrowding lead to human rights violations?
- What is it like to live in prison?
- What is the role of a prison officer?
- To what extent are prisons difficult and dangerous places to live/work in?
- Can prisons operate humanely, in line with international human rights standards?
- To what extent can alternatives to imprisonment assist in the process of prison reform?