CR6007 - Mentally Disordered Offenders

What will I learn on this module?

Mentally disordered offenders: “mad, bad and dangerous to know”? During this module you will begin to explore who ‘they’ are, what ‘they’ do, why we are afraid of ‘them’, how we identify ‘them’ and what we are doing about ‘them’.
You will learn about and critique mentally disordered offender theory and practice, including: developing a critical understanding to the concept of ‘mentally disordered offenders’; the links between mental disorder and crime; the links between the mass media and the public in the development of the concept of the ‘dangerous offender’; the development of Forensic Psychiatry and its impact on the concept of ‘risk’ and ‘risk assessment’; and a critical assessment of the impact of policy developments on approaches to the care and/or control of mentally disordered offenders.

How will I learn on this module?

In order to learn of the concept of the ‘offender health pathway’ and key points at which existing and/or new policies or services can have an impact on MDO care or control, this module draws on a combination of lectures, seminar activities and academic tutorials to facilitate your learning experience. A number of expert speakers (including those from clinical practice such as Psychologists and Psychiatric Nurses) will be invited to present to students and lead discussions.
The module aims to consolidate your skills in areas such as team work and collaborative research. Weekly lectures will frame the discussion of each key issue in the context of relevant concepts, theories and debates.

Seminars will follow a student-led, workshop format. Seminars will be organised around the concept of the ‘offender health pathway’ and key points at which existing and/or new policies or services can have an impact on MDO care or control. In each seminar session, identified student groups will research, analyse, and present a class paper on a key point along the offender health pathway, and organise and lead subsequent class discussion.

Consolidating your learning at levels 4 and 5, building skills in information retrieval, analysis, and presentation is central to the approach taken in seminars. Further development of your confidence in synthesising, explaining and discussing information from a range of sources is also a key aim of the approach taken in this module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Developing your ability to reflect informatively, and think critically about some of the challenges facing ‘mentally disordered offenders’ and those organisations charged with their ‘care or control’ is central to this module. In this regard, it will enable you to make informed evaluations of some of the major issues facing the criminal justice and health/social care systems. The assignment will ‘allow you the freedom’ to research and develop your own solutions to some of these seemingly interminable issues.

In addition to your intellectual development, you will receive support from your peers in the classroom, from experts in the field of forensic mental health practice, and from the module tutor throughout the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Within the context of the development and changes in understanding, attitudes, and approaches to mental health and illness, to critically analyse, and engage students in debates about the ‘care and/or control’ of mentally disordered offenders.
2. Through the analysis of the ‘offender health pathway’ to analyse the different ways in which public services currently respond to mentally disordered offenders, how their competing philosophies are sometimes at odds, how attempts have been made to resolve the issues, and what this ultimately tells us about society/attitudes/’knowledge’.
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. To collaborate with others and to work as part of a team to research, analyse, present and manage discussions about particular MDO issues and possibilities for change.
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
1. To have confidence in your own thinking and assessment of events and issues, but also to be open to challenge and debate too.

How will I be assessed?

The seminar programme will support the formative assessment for this module. Student groups will research, present and manage student debate around one part of the ‘offender health pathway’. Student slides, handouts etc. will be made available to all students via eLP, to help inform the summative assignment.

One essay will form the summative assessment for this module addressing all four MLOs. The essay will assess all learning outcomes: “Design a policy or practice initiative which would impact on the care and/or control of Mentally Disordered Offenders.”





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code C8M9

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full time/4 years full time with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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