• The University of Sheffield

Crime, Justice and Society

Explore the role of the state in regulating criminal behaviour and the parts played by those in the criminal justice system.

31,871 enrolled on this course

A view from outside The Royal Courts of Justice in London, England.
  • Duration

    8 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Learn and debate with criminal justice academics and professionals

What should the role of the police be? How do victims experience criminal justice? Are there alternative responses to crime instead of prosecution and conviction?

On this course, you’ll learn alongside specialists from the University of Sheffield’s Centre for Criminological Research and hear from those with firsthand experience of the criminal justice system, like the police, probation officers, former prisoners and criminal lawyers.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds The study of crime and how we respond to it forces us to ask fundamental questions about order and morality in society, and how we define and solve complex social problems. Which human behaviours are defined as crimes? Which citizens are labelled as criminals and brought to justice? Are criminal justice interventions fairly distributed across individuals and social groups? Is it true that the rich get richer and the poor get prison? I’m Dr. Matthew Bacon, a lecturer in criminology in The School of Law at The University of Sheffield.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 seconds During this course, you will learn with a team of experts from The Centre for Criminological Research here at Sheffield, which is one of the UK’s original four criminological centres for excellence and has over 30 years of active research experience. The issues we discuss will touch on a range of disciplines, including sociology, economics, history, law, psychology, philosophy, geography and ethics, as well as on people’s fears, moralities and politics.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 seconds As well as academics, we will talk to those with first-hand experience of the criminal justice system including probation officers, former prisoners and criminal lawyers. We’ll visit the police service in situ, witness a victim offender mediation session, and even travel to Italy to learn about Cesare Lombroso, the controversial figure often cited as the father of modern criminology. No society will ever be crime-free and criminal justice comes at a price. The knowledge that you gain from this course may inspire you to continue your studies with us, or pursue a career in criminal justice, or even academia.

Skip to 1 minute and 50 seconds Or it may simply give you the knowledge to better understand the complex and contested role of the state in criminal justice interventions and producing safe and just societies. Join us as we begin our study of crime, justice, and society.

What topics will you cover?

  • Crime and Criminal Justice
  • Policing
  • Victims and Victim Support
  • Restorative Justice
  • Prisons and Places of Confinement
  • Community Sanctions and Measures
  • Desistance

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Reflect on the role of the state in the regulation of criminal behaviour.
  • Describe how a range of criminal justice agencies and non-governmental organisations respond to crime.
  • Discuss contemporary issues and emerging questions in the field of criminology.
  • Explore the impacts of victimisation and the support available for victims of crime.
  • Debate controversial issues in policing and prisons.
  • Investigate international developments in restorative justice policy and practice.
  • Evaluate alternative approaches to imprisonment such as community sanctions and measures.
  • Explore emerging research into desistance to understand how and why people stop offending.

Who is the course for?

This is an introductory course and anyone can enjoy it without prior knowledge or experience of the subject. A basic knowledge of criminal justice will be helpful but is not essential. The course will focus on criminal justice in England and Wales but is designed so that learners from any country can participate.

The course will be useful for those considering an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in the fields of criminology or criminal justice.

If you are thinking about studying criminology, you may be interested to know that our BA (Hons) in Criminology has recently been ranked number 2 in the Guardian University Guide 2019, making Sheffield the (second) best place to study this subject.

Who will you learn with?

Lecturer in Criminology at the School of Law, University of Sheffield. Researcher of policing, drug control policy and the informal economy.

Who developed the course?

The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is one of the world’s top 100 universities with a reputation for teaching and research excellence.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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