• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This is a course about prisons and the people who inhabit them. Prison, Prisoners and the Law is also about journeys and stories, or ‘narratives’. The course considers why people get to prison, key aspects of their incarceration and challenges associated with the transition from prison to the community.

Prisoners are among the most disadvantaged end-users of the legal system. The way we treat prisoners is contextualised by a variety of historical, political, social and economic factors. The way we treat prisoners is also contextualised by what we think we know – and what we’re told – about the place of punishment in a modern criminal justice system. Similarly, but often overlooked, the way prisoners are treated is sometimes reflected in the way we teach, train, recruit and support the uniformed and non-uniformed staff who work with and look over them.

This course will consider some of the dilemmas in corrections in Australia and explore the ways in which reform in corrections can lead to improved socio-legal outcomes for prisoners. The course will give you a better understanding of the theory and contemporary practice of reforming law in the corrections context, and you will participate in learning activities designed to develop your understanding of the various reasons for reforming the law in this context.

Fundamental concepts of law reform and corrections will be reviewed, as will some of the key dilemmas in corrections. Additionally, common risk factors that lead to incarceration – the pathways to prison – will be explored. The purpose of punishment and new wave emphasis on rehabilitation will be examined, as will the application of human rights in prisons and the importance of external oversight of the conditions of detention. The course will also examine the transition and reintegration of prisoners from places of detention to the community. Justice reinvestment will be examined as an example of one framework designed to reform reliance on custodial arrangements.

Overall, the course will encourage you to reflect on the normative capacity of the law; that is, the power of the law to tell us how things ought to be. More specifically, the course will provide you with an understanding of what it might mean to work in the community legal sector, or as a legal aid lawyer. The course will also provide you with an understanding of what it might mean to work as a government lawyer and the challenges involved in developing useful legal policy amid the hustle and bustle of the politics of law reform. The course will certainly give you an understanding of the importance of facilitating opportunities for voice among the most vulnerable individuals and groups in society, the importance of identifying and listening to stakeholders, and an appreciation of navigating interests and opinions.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Identify, explain and apply specialised knowledge and skills, in the area of corrections and law reform, especially insofar as reforming the law impacts on places of criminal detention;
  2. Demonstrate, through critical examination and evaluation, an advanced and integrated understanding of a complex body of knowledge in the area of law reform efforts in juvenile justice or adult corrections;
  3. Critically analyse, reflect upon and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories as they apply in the area of juvenile justice, adult corrections and law reform;
  4. Explain, distinguish and apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment, adaptability and responsibility in research and learning; and
  5. Demonstrate, at masters level, the ability to plan and execute a research project to demonstrate legal research principles and methodologies by applying critical analysis and application of legal principles and practice to complex matters arising in criminal detention.

Other Information

This is an intensive course with a 4 day compulsory intensive (see LLM Course Table for dates).

Approximately 6 weeks from the completion of the intensive your final assessment will be due. Contact with fellow students and the convenor, both prior to the intensive and after, is conducted via the Wattle course site.

Indicative Assessment

  1. It is likely the assessment will be: (null) [LO null]
  2. Case Note (2,400 words) 30% (30) [LO null]
  3. Presentation to class 10% (10) [LO null]
  4. Research Paper (5000 words) 60% (60) [LO null]
  5. Students must rely on the approved Course Study Guide which will be posted to the Wattle course site approximately 4 weeks prior to the commencement of the course. (null) [LO null]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


26 hours of face to face teaching (4 day intensive). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours.
Click here for the LLM Masters Program timetable

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (7300XLLM, MLLM), Master of Laws specialising in International Law (7300XSINTL), Master of Laws specialising in Law, Governance and Development (7300SLGD), Master of Laws specialising in Environmental Law (7300SEVNL), Master of Laws specialising in Government and Commercial Law (7300SGCL), Master of Laws specialising in International Security Law (7300SISL), Master of Laws in Migration (NLLML), Master of Laws in International Law (NLLIL), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (NLLEN), Master of Laws in Law, Governance & Development (NLLGD), Master of Laws in International Security Law (NLLSL), Master of Laws in Government and Regulation (NLLGR), Master of Laws (Legal Practice) (7312XLLMLP), Master of Diplomacy/Master of Laws (7883SINTL), Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP), Master of International Law (7310XMINTL), Master of Environmental Law (7309XMENVL), Master of Law, Governance & Development (7317XMLGD), Master of International Security Law (7318XMISL), Master of Government and Commercial Law (7313XMGCL); OR Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 level LAWS courses or five 6100 level LAWS courses; OR Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; OR Master of Military Law (MMILL); OR Juris Doctor - online (MJDOL) and have completed LAWS8712 Australian Public Law & International Law B. Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for permission number.

Prescribed Texts

There is no prescribed text for this course.

Preliminary Reading

Students must rely on the approved Course Study Guide which will be posted to the Wattle course site approximately 4 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.

An e-brick will be available on the Wattle course site.

Assumed Knowledge

Students without an Australian law degree must have completed LAWS8587 Legal Framework of Regulation


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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