Inside and Outside Perspectives on Criminology and Criminal Justice

Module summary

Module code: SOCI1122
Level: 5
Credits: 15
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Law and Criminology
Module Coordinator(s): Giulia Zampini / Camille Stengel



This course offers students the opportunity to engage with issues of relevance to criminology in an innovative and unique manner. Studying and critically reflecting upon substantive issues in criminology in a prison setting, including causes of crime, victims of crime, drugs, prostitution and resettlement, has been proven to have a profound impact on both incarcerated and non-incarcerated students (Pompa, 2013). Discussions will take place with an open and participatory model and a matching attitude by all involved, encouraging exchange that is both academic and experiential in character. The discussions will be facilitated by the course leaders, who have received extensive training at the Inside-Out training institute in Philadelphia, on effective and ethical delivery of the Inside-Out teaching model inside a prison environment. With the intention of breaking down barriers and stereotypes on all sides, this course allows learning to move beyond physical and artificial separations, providing a space for an embodied and critical pedagogy.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:
1. Develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between theory and reality of the prison system through engagement with the prison environment and relevant readings.
2. Observe and reflect upon issues of criminological significance through learning based on dialogic exchange of ideas and the completion of reflective journals.
3. Have an increased awareness of the experience of incarceration and higher education through exchange and critical reflection.
4. Analyse criminological ideas in context, through peer exchange and critical reflection based on reading, experience, and discussions.
5. Recognise the way in which theories and concepts learnt have practical applications and implications within a criminal justice setting.
6. Explore penal policies, reflecting on their real-life significance for those involved in the criminal justice system.

Indicative content

Week 1: Instructors meeting outside students and instructors go on prison visit
Week 2: Instructors meeting inside students and security training with outside students
Week 3: Inside and outside students meet– team building, ice breakers
Week 4: Substantive learning – why does crime happen?
Week 5: Substantive learning – drug cultures and drug policy
Week 6: Substantive learning – prostitution
Week 7: Substantive learning – victims of crime
Week 6: Substantive learning – resettlement
Week 9: Collaborative/independent learning - Group work
Week 10: Collaborative/Independent learning - Group work
Week 11: Collaborative/independent learning - Group work
Week 12: Closing ceremony and presentations

Teaching and learning activity

Classes will take place in the prison environment. Inside and outside students and course instructors will sit in a circle facing each other. Students will take it in turns to outline their views on each week’s substantive topic, making reference to required readings. Course instructors will facilitate discussion. As such, there will be no traditional lecture-style teaching. Rather, the discussion will unfold within a seminar-style learning environment, with the crucial difference that each student will be invited to, and have the time to, contribute to discussions. Group work will be a collaborative undertaking where inside and outside students work jointly, while receiving ongoing support from the course facilitators, during the scheduled group work sessions. Students will present their work to each other during the closing ceremony. Both inside and outside students will obtain credits by completing the course.


Coursework: 20% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 2, 4, 5.
Word Length: 500 words.
Outline Details: Students will write a reflection on the first substantive topic covered in the joint sessions.

Coursework: 80% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Learning Outcomes: 2500 words.
Outline Details: Students will write a critical reflective journal, covering all substantive course content and the group presentation project.

Formative Assessment: For the formative assessment, students will be placed in mixed groups of inside and outside students and asked to put together a presentation on one chosen topic of the substantive course content covered. They will then present to the whole class and receive feedback from their peers. This will foster collaborative relationships, solidify partnerships, and contribute to the breaking down of boundaries and stereotypes on both sides.