Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitCriminology
OfferedClayton Second semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Bree Carlton


Students read, analyse and discuss theories and histories of punishment. In particular students examine the differential experiences associated with early punishments and imprisonment on socially disadvantaged groups according to gender, race, class and ability. This subject also examines contemporary and comparative issues about the prison and its social impacts. A central theme subject is to understand the contemporary revalorization of the prison in contemporary times as the key solution for managing social problems associated with the rise of neo-liberal capitalism and its associated injustices. Key themes include punishment and social control, institutional cultures of violence, the politics of imprisonment and penal reform and the future of imprisonment more broadly.


On successful completion of this unit students will have:

  1. A critical awareness of contemporary global trends in punishment;
  2. An understanding of the various theories and modes of punishment and the role of imprisonment in society;
  3. An ability to present a fluid and logical argument about the role of punishment in society;
  4. The skills to critically analyse debates about the role of the prison in historical and contemporary contexts;
  5. The ability to formulate ideas, based on evidence and theory, about the role and nature of punishment in different societies, countries and over time;
  6. An understanding of the factors influencing the historical and contemporary development of the prison as a principal institution of punishment;
  7. An ability to explain and critique the evolution and impacts of the prison as a tool of social control;
  8. An ability to analyse the aims and objectives of imprisonment as a dominant response to social problems;
  9. A demonstrated advanced theoretical appreciation and understanding of the changing role and nature of institutional forms of punishment in historical and contemporary contexts;
  10. Demonstrated advanced skills to critically analyse theories and debates about the role and nature of punishment in society.


Within semester assessment: 60%
Exam: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units. It is highly recommended that students only take this unit after they have completed two gateway units in Criminology.