Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3193: Women in the Criminal Justice System: Law, Policy and Institutions

This module descriptor refers to the 2018/9 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 30 ECTS Value 15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks) and term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Sarah Cooper (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


This module will introduce you to the position of women in the criminal justice system, both as victim and offender, and will explore the regulation of a range of issues from abortion and prostitution, to rape and female serial killers. The core theoretical element throughout will be the analysis of the respective influence of political and cultural organisations – such as the police, government, penal reform system, media and civil society – through various conceptual lenses including new-institutionalism. As a result, the strong emphasis of the course is the overlap between law and politics, and acknowledgment of the duality endemic to the UK’s criminal justice approach that starkly labels female conduct as either good or bad. Through specific empirical application, such as the question of probation in the case of Myra Hindley, the need for appropriate protection for prostitutes in regard to the ‘Bradford Murders’, and the call for public inquiry into the reporting process for rape, you will be able to consider the regulatory challenges this binary creates when women are seen to be conforming to more than one stereotype.


The module has no pre-requisites. Although principally concerning public policy, it comprises a multi-disciplinary approach to politics, law and criminology, and will appeal not only to students interested in women’s issues, but to those concerned with the interconnectedness between law and politics. 

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