CR6021 - Life after Crime

What will I learn on this module?

Do children who break the law always turn into adult offenders? What might help someone change their behaviour? Is it always the impact of a criminal justice intervention that makes someone desist from crime? This module will look at all of these questions.

The first part will track the nature and complexity of criminal careers. It will demonstrate different ways in which offenders come to be engaged in crime and the extent to which starting early is a predictor of a criminal career. After considering the different ways in which criminal careers are sustained and developed, you will look at the interventions criminal justice and aligned organisations put in place to change offenders’ behaviour.

We will investigate forms of restorative justice and reparation, and question whether, and how, they might fit within different criminal justice systems around the world. For example, what might the role of ‘circles of support’ be in a risk adverse society? The module will also look at whether some activities in prison might have a role in desistance after release. For example, are creative, artistic, spiritual and sporting activities a hook for changing offending behaviour after release?

Throughout the module we will consider UK and international criminal justice practice, and question the impact of social, political and cultural contexts of restoration, rehabilitation and desistance. You will be encouraged to explore all of these elements from cultural and critical criminological perspectives.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through different teaching and learning strategies and techniques, and by completing a range of tasks. The 2-hour sessions will be primarily led by the tutor, and the seminar sessions, guided by the tutor, will be based on your preparation outside classes.

You should expect to learn via:
• Research rich lectures
• Engagement with and analysis of media – each 2-hour session include short media clips (TV, film, radio, podcasts, music, gaming, visual and performing art) about the topic, which will spark discussion
• In-class tasks including theoretical analysis of practitioner blogs, government reports and news items
• Small group work
• Interactive online in-class quizzes
• Inside and outside class to reading, summarising and evaluation of scholarly, practitioner, government and former offender written literature
• To upload group discussion and summary points to a module blog
• To watch films, TV programmes and documentaries outside classes in preparation for discussion

You will have access to an online learning space as part of the module. This will include module outline and other general information, assessments, electronic readings lists, announcements, teaching materials, vlogs and tweets from the module leader.

The module aims to consolidate your skills in areas such as teamwork and research. The research may be with others or on an individual basis. You are expected to carry out the preparation for each week and be willing to share this information with others on the module to help provoke discussion and disagreement. These skills will help to develop your confidence in in synthesising, evaluating, explaining and discussing information from a wide range of sources.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be able to get support on this module face to face and online.

Face to face support will be provided by the module tutor(s) in the lectures, workshops, seminars by answering questions, helping you to explore discussion points and prepare for assignments. You can attend a tutor’s office hours or make an appointment at other times. Face to face support will also be offered by other students in your class. Through the ongoing debates about the topics, you will be encouraged to offer support and constructive criticism to your peers.

All of the module materials are available through the e-learning portal; this includes the module outline and reading lists. Help sheets and vlogs on the assignments and how to search for and access online resources will be posted by the tutors. They will also regularly post items of interest from the news on the e-portal. The module will have an associated blog where each week small groups will be required to post discussion points and topic summaries. These will help as a reminder and support your assignment preparation.

Developing your ability to reflect informatively and think critically about some of the challenges facing criminal justice, and associated, agencies is central to this module. You will be encouraged to explore online resources from a wide variety of authors (government, third sector organisations, criminal justice practitioners, former offenders, news organisations, documentary makers) and to actively engage with them to help your academic development.

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. Explore and situate the theoretical explanations for early onset criminal activity in the wider policy and practice debates relating to sustained criminal careers.

2. To be able to identify, explain and evaluate the role of alternative penal practice in the UK and other countries which aid desistance.

3. To recognise and evaluate the inconsistencies, contradictions and conflicts within the broader political, social and cultural debates on restoration, rehabilitation and desistance.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

4. To collaborate with others to question and explore the ongoing debates about penal practices, and to exchange these views through face to face engagement, written pieces and online research and discussion.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

5. To have confidence in your own knowledge, understanding and critiques about alternative penal practice; to be open to different viewpoints, and to express knowledge about people and practices in a non-judgemental manner.

How will I be assessed?

Small interactive quizzes (non-assessed) will be used. Verbal feedback will be given to the class. These quizzes will assess MLO 1 and 2.

The assessed blog post (30%) will allow you to write in a more informal style than a traditional essay. It will be submitted during the middle of the teaching period. This assessment will address MLOs 1, 2, 4 and 5.

The essay (70%) will be submitted after the end of teaching. This will be a traditional academic piece. You will use feedback from the previous formative and summative assessments to help you with this and will be given written feedback. This assessment will address MLOs 1, 2, 3 and 5.





Module abstract

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

Course info

UCAS Code LL44

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time

Department Social Sciences

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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