ATS3459 - Prisons, power and punishment - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit


Chief examiner(s)

Dr Bree Carlton


Dr Bree Carlton

Unit guides



  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)


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.




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.


Upon completion of the unit students will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  1. identify and evaluate contrasting perspectives about punishment in historical and contemporary settings in Australia and internationally;
  2. identify and evaluate contrasting perspectives about the prison as a principle institution of punishment;
  3. compare and contrast different perspectives on crime, punishment, imprisonment and society;
  4. generate, analyse and synthesise evidence to communicate a sustained argument about of the administrative functions and lived experiences of imprisonment;
  5. generate and apply new knowledge about the effects of punishment and prisons in different social contexts.


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

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